Members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association [RDA] are planning to strike for 48 hours from 8am on Tuesday 26 February until 8am on Thursday 28 February 2019.
Canterbury DHB is well advanced in its contingency planning to ensure it continues to provide safe care during the strike period when we expect most Resident Medical Officers/junior doctors will withdraw their services.
Canterbury DHB employs around 550 Resident Medical Officers [RMOs] and understands about 70 percent are RDA members.
A number of the others belong to a new RMO union.
Canterbury DHB employs RMOs at most of its facilities.
Michael Frampton, Canterbury DHB’s Chief People Officer, says continuing to provide safe care for patients during the strike remains the highest priority and focus for the Canterbury Health System.
“We are prioritising essential and acute services, which means that some outpatient appointments and planned surgeries are being rescheduled,” he says. “We will be re-booking those affected to the next available appointment,” Michael Frampton said.
“Patients who have appointments or surgery booked during the strike period can expect to hear from Canterbury DHB. If people don’t hear from us, they should turn up as per their appointment letter.
“I apologise in advance to those whose surgery or outpatient appointment has to be rescheduled.”
The Emergency Department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital will continue to provide emergency care during the strike, and women should access services at Christchurch Women’s Hospital as they normally would. All our maternity units will be operating during the strike times, and pregnant women should contact their Lead Maternity Carer as they would normally.
“Canterbury people can help take some of the pressure off emergency services during the strike period by phoning their General Practice team first for all non-urgent care. When you call your usual general practice number after-hours, your call will be answered by a nurse who can provide free health advice. If you need to be seen, they can tell you what to do and where to go for #carearoundtheclock.”
“Staff are starting to phone those affected by this industrial action. Some complex surgery that was planned for the days leading up to the strike will also need to be rescheduled, as well as some surgery and outpatient clinics on the 26 and 27 February. Our contingency plans involve reducing the numbers of people in our hospitals. Some people may be discharged with in-home care and support where it’s safe and appropriate to do so.
“We have set up an 0800 number for people who may want to check if their surgery or outpatient clinic appointment is affected. However, our intention is to contact everyone affected by phone. The strike info number is 0800 778 226,” Michael Frampton said.