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Doctors strike for safer hours

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Wairarapa could be down a dozen doctors if a 48-hour strike goes ahead.

Resident doctors, nationwide, have threatened a strike in pursuit of demands for what their union says are “safer rosters and safer hours”.

The strike, announced yesterday by the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) is planned to run from 7am on Tuesday October 18 until 7am on Thursday October 20.

Wairarapa DHB confirmed there were 12 Registered Medical Officers (RMO) in the region, but could not confirm how many were union members.

All 20 District Health Boards would be affected by the action, which involves a complete withdrawal of labour by NZRDA members.

The union’s national secretary Deborah Powell said it was “extremely disappointing” to have come to this result – “however the DHB’s resistance to meaningfully improve current unsafe rostering practices has left us no choice”.

She said there was no other way to secure safer rosters “for our nation’s doctors and the patients we care for”.

DHBs’ national Workforce and Employment Relations Programme lead chief executive Julie Patterson said the DHBs had tabled a formal offer before the strike was announced yesterday.

If agreed to, this would lead to New Zealand doctors having some of the best hours of work in the world, she said.

These changes included splitting night shifts to reduce fatigue, and reducing the maximum number of days worked in a row to 10 days.

“We hope the union will at least let the RMOs discuss the DHB offer, before putting the public of New Zealand through the disruption of industrial action.”

Mrs Patterson said the DHBs would now turn their attention to planning for the strike.

“The DHBs’ planning for any industrial action is well advanced.

“The public will be advised individually if there is any disruption to planned services.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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