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Junior doctors’ strike affects clinics and non urgent surgery

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waikato DHB is postponing and rescheduling a number of outpatient clinics, mental health clinics and non-urgent surgery due to a nationwide junior doctors strike taking place from 7am on Tuesday 15 January until 7am on Thursday 17 January.

The DHB is rescheduling around 1,300 outpatient appointments and 165 inpatient treatments so that senior doctors can focus on caring for patients in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care and Maternity.

All patients whose operations or clinical appointments are affected by the strike are being notified by telephone. Not all clinics are being rescheduled, so the DHB is asking patients who have not been notified to please check with their service.

The DHB employs around 450 junior doctors, mostly working out of Waikato Hospital. Contingency plans are in place to ensure essential and emergency services will not be affected.

Barb Garbutt, incident controller for the RDA industrial action, said: "Junior doctors are a vital part of the healthcare team at Waikato Hospital and this strike will affect our ability to carry out services. We will need to reduce the number of patients in the hospital over the period leading up to and during the proposed industrial action."

All of New Zealand’s 20 DHBs will be affected by the action, which will involve a complete withdrawal of labour by Resident Doctors Association members. Waikato DHB’s other hospitals in Thames, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui and Tokoroa are mostly unaffected by the strike.

Should the strike notice be lifted, services will resume.

Mrs Garbutt said: "We really appreciate our senior doctors’ assistance and will be doing all we can to provide them with support during the strike."

She added: "We are reminding the public to keep our emergency department for emergencies only. If your illness or injury is not urgent you may face long delays. It’s better to go to your family doctor or local private accident and medical clinic when symptoms first appear rather than becoming seriously ill and needing emergency services. But people should not delay seeking medical treatment if they think the matter is urgent."

Patients can also contact Healthline for advice on 0800 611 611.

The hospital has set up a helpline number for those who are unsure about their appointment. The number is 0800 276 216.

For more updates on the strike please visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/strike

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