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Dangers Of Strike Action: Orthopaedic Surgeons

Media release
December 1 2006

Dangers Of Strike Action Warning From Orthopaedic Surgeons

Health workers and negotiators who precipitate strike action should know that they could be putting patients’ health and welfare at risk, warns the new President of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association (NZOA).

Invercargill orthopaedic surgeon, Murray Fosbender, says that while the NZOA takes no position on the merits of any strike, it is deeply concerned about the considerable risks borne by the affected public.

“The resultant loss of treatments from the three health services’ strikes this year cannot be retrieved and is a big backward step in the drive to improve elective services to the public,” he said. “Worse are the risks to those patients who are acutely sick or injured.

“The use of strike action is a right of an aggrieved worker but such action in the health sector imposes severe compromise of patient services while also creating major difficulties for other health workers.”

Mr. Fosbender said the NZOA strongly appeals to both parties (health workers and hospitals) to consider the risks of strike action. “We make a plea for more understanding by policy makers and compulsory arbitration between parties to curtail the compromise and loss of services we are witnessing,” he said. “The NZOA joins the Medical Council of New Zealand in its call for a change in law to make arbitration for health sector disputes compulsory”.


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