More than 3000 junior doctors from 20 different DHBs around the country didn't turn up to work today. They say they won't be returning for the next 48 hours as they strike for safer rostering hours.
The hospital doors are still open, but not a junior doctor in sight.
DHB Spokesperson Julie Patterson says, “We want them back on the job so it has to be able to be resolved we have to get around the table and talk as soon as the strike is over.”
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 says, “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.”
“On average across New Zealand they work 53 hours a week, yes there are some 12-day stints in there and there are occasionally 16 hour days and it does vary how often they do that,” says Patterson.
However, DHBs say they appear to be coping so far.
Chief medical and dental officer at Hastings Hospital Dr John Gomman says, “Well we've had two weeks to plan so we've got all the rosters filled with plenty of senior doctors doubling up and we're very confident that we're going to provide safe care for people with urgent problems and emergencies and trauma.”
It's been 10 months of bargaining but four years since the dispute began. The DHBs want to address the rostering issues and have offered solutions such as a 5% pay increase and reduced day shifts to 10.