The New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association's decision to go ahead with a 73-hour strike at 18 DHBs this week is set to impact thousands of patients nationwide.
In the Northern region alone, more than 2,200 patients will be affected across Northland, Waitemata, Auckland and Counties Manukau, Whanganui DHB CE Julie Patterson explains.
“This is a significant number of families who are going to be affected in the north alone having their outpatient clinic appointments and surgical operation bookings postponed because of the strike.”
Waikato DHB is also postponing around 500 patient bookings due to the strike. Bay of Plenty DHB has postponed 350 planned surgeries and appointments.
The industrial action is the result of the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association's attempts to negotiate safer working hours for junior doctors.
Junior doctors want to work 10 consecutive days instead of 12, and four consecutive nights instead of seven.
Deborah Powell from the Resident Doctors Association told Te Kaea in October last year, “We believe the District Health Boards are trying to make it about pay but it isn't. It's about the number of hours we're working.”
DHBs will contact those patients whose booking needs to be rescheduled because of the strike. Patients who have a booking during the strike period but who do not hear from their local DHB should attend their scheduled appointment.