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Wairarapa nurses to strike


Cal Roberts

Nurses will take national strike action for 24 hours on July 5, including Wairarapa Hospital, after failed negotiation over pay and working conditions.

The strike notice was received by the Wairarapa District Health Board last week, and will force the closure of outpatient clinics, elective surgery, and the day procedures unit.

The rehabilitation unit will be running only limited services, but the emergency department, paediatric inpatient ward, acute surgery, high-dependency units, maternity and some adult inpatient services will remain open.

Community nursing services will have limited cover, but child and adolescent mental health services will operate as normal.

The adult mental health unit will not be booking routine appointments but will be available for crisis and respite support, as well as for after-hours services.

Wairarapa DHB chief executive Adri Isbister said it would have to carefully manage the services it can provide during the strike, which is due to start at 7am.

“We expect to maintain only the very minimum of services during the strike, and all outpatient clinics will be closed.

She said preparations had already begun and some services, like elective surgery, would have to close well before the strike date to ensure the number of patients in the hospital on July 5 was minimal.

“Wairarapa District Health Board is preparing to defer all elective services provided at Wairarapa Hospital, and reduce the level of services provided to enable us to cope with the strike action.

“Our number one priority is patient safety.”

Isbister said Wairarapa DHB had a deep respect for its nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives.

“We respect their right to take industrial action and we know it is not a decision made lightly.

“We are committed to negotiating in good faith and we still hope for a resolution that works for all parties.”

Notice for a second, 24-hour strike from 7am on July 12 was expected this week.

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