Planning is underway at Lakes District Health Board to manage 48 hours of planned strike action by the Resident Doctors’ Association.
The strikes are due to start on Tuesday, January 15 at 7am until Thursday, January 17 at 7am.
Contingency planning meetings will be held regularly in order to ensure all potential issues are identified and addressed.
The notice of strike action received on New Years’ Eve involves a complete withdrawal of labour by members of the NZRDA, the main union for Resident Medical Officers or junior doctors. A total of 93 junior doctors (first and second year house officers and registrars) are normally employed by Lakes District Health Board.
Previous industrial action involving junior doctors saw most non-urgent services cancelled in order to ensure the DHB’s senior doctors could focus on those in most need.
Contingency Planner Nina Dobson says on the strike days all elective or scheduled surgeries will need to be postponed, along with the majority of outpatient clinics.
Patients will be contacted individually by Lakes DHB if their appointment or procedure needs to be changed. Every effort will be made to reschedule all affected patients as soon as possible.
Additionally, some elective surgery scheduled for the days leading up to the planned strike may need to be rescheduled, as part of the plan to reduce the overall number of patients in hospital during the strike.
Only urgent cases will be able to be dealt with at the Emergency Departments at Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals during the industrial action.
People should start planning to make sure they are up to date with their prescriptions and other requirements, and if they get into difficulty, they should make their GP their first port of call. People can also contact Healthline 0800 611 116 for advice and information from a trusted registered nurse, 24/7.
“The proposed industrial action will mean that people’s healthcare plans may be affected. Any changes to our hospital operations are considered necessary in order to make sure that the safety of our patients in need is not compromised,” said Acting Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood.