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Junior doctors’ strike to affect operations

File photo.

Members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association are planning to strike for 48 hours from 7am on Tuesday January 15 until 7am on Thursday January 17.

Like all District Health Boards affected by this strike, Canterbury DHB wants to let people know that it has a contingency plan in place to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible during the strike period. 

Canterbury DHB employs around 550 Resident Medical Officers [RMOs] and understands about 70 percent are RDA members.

A number of the others belong to a new RMO union.

Canterbury DHB employs RMOs at most of its facilities.

Michael Frampton, Canterbury DHB’s Chief People Officer, says continuing to provide safe care for patients during the strike remains the highest priority and focus for the Canterbury Health System.

“We are prioritising essential and acute services, which means that some outpatient appointments and planned surgeries are being rescheduled,” he says. “We will be re-booking those affected to the next available appointment,” Michael Frampton said.

“Patients who have appointments or surgery booked during the strike period can expect to hear from Canterbury DHB. If people don’t hear from us, they should turn up as per their appointment letter.

“I apologise in advance to those whose surgery or outpatient appointment has to be postponed.”

The Emergency Department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital will remain open during the strike as will Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

“Canterbury people can help take some of the pressure off emergency services during the strike period by phoning their General Practice team first for all non-urgent care. When you call your usual general practice number after-hours your call will be answered by a nurse who can provide free health advice. If you need to be seen, they can tell you what to do and where to go for #carearoundtheclock.”

“Staff are starting to phone those affected by this industrial action. Some complex surgery that was planned for the days leading up to the strike will also need to be postponed, as well as some surgery and outpatient clinics on the 15th and 16th of January. Our contingency plans involve reducing the numbers of people in our hospitals. Some people may be discharged with in-home care and support where it’s safe and appropriate to do so.

“We are setting up an 0800 number for people who may want to check if their surgery or outpatient clinic appointment is affected. However, our intention is to contact everyone affected by phone. Details of the 0800 number will be publicised later this week,” Michael Frampton said.


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