By Emily Norman
Patient safety will be of utmost importance as the country’s junior doctors plan for a second 48-hour strike.
Last month about a dozen junior doctors in Wairarapa went on strike, joining thousands of others nationwide in the pursuit of safer working hours.
It was hoped the first strike action would enforce a “maximum of 10 days in a row as opposed to 12, and a maximum of four nights in a row as opposed to the current maximum of seven” for resident doctors.
The second nationwide two-day strike was confirmed yesterday by the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) after they declined the proposal put forward by New Zealand District Health Boards.
The strike will run from 7am on Wednesday, November 23.
NZRDA National Secretary Deborah Powell said although the DHBs had made an offer, it was “seriously deficient in addressing the doctor’s concerns”.
“The DHBs have still not contractually committed to safer rosters,” she said.
“The offer is full of ‘may’ and ‘shall endeavour’ references.”
Wairarapa DHB spokesperson Anna Cardno said this strike would affect services at the Wairarapa Hospital and would result in the reduction of planned services, including outpatient clinics and operating theatre lists.
“The Wairarapa DHB would like to apologise for all inconvenience and upset caused to any patients who may have treatments or visits rescheduled,” she said.
“Every effort will be made to rebook your appointments as soon as possible.”
She said staffing at the hospital would be limited during the strike, and may lead to increased delays in the Emergency Department.
“Whenever possible and appropriate it would be appreciated if people could attend their general practice and save ED for emergencies,” she said.
“Every effort will be made to ensure patient safety is not compromised during these days.”
Wairarapa’s executive leader of medical services Tom Gibson said the DHB hoped the situation would be resolved “in the very near future, to allow us to provide the clinical care services needed by the community”.