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Radiographers Strike Leaves Hospital Workers Stretched

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, Sept 3 NZPA - Striking Auckland radiographers left hospital staff through the regions fully stretched this morning.

The radiographers walked off the job at first light for three days after 11th hour talks with the District Health Boards to break the deadlock in the contracts talks failed last night.

Auckland radiographers won't return to work until Monday and on Tuesday will take part in a nationwide strike.

Auckland DHB spokesman Mark Fenwick said clinical staff in Auckland and Starship Hospitals were very busy and were worried they may not manage with the inevitable increase in patients over the weekend.

"Staff are under considerable stress at the moment, we are worried about how we are going to cope over the weekend when the sports and late-night injuries start coming in," he said.

There were four radiographers on duty in Starship Hospital and two in Auckland Hospital, as opposed to 40 normally, he said.

Radiographers had agreed on two pay increases of 1 percent by October prior to today's meeting, but other issues were still on the table.

Bernadette Gourley, spokeswoman for the radiographers' union, Apex, said the workers had hoped the three-day strike action would not be necessary and that negotiations with the DHBs yesterday would settle the issue, but these had been unproductive.

"Things didn't go very well, they were unable or unwilling to come to a compromise with us. They left at the end of the day saying they needed to speak with the CEOs."

But the radiographers would go back to work if patient health was at risk, she said.

The union's industrial action has already prompted the cancellation of all elective surgery at Auckland Hospital, affecting more than 500 people.

A nationwide strike next Tuesday is expected to affect hundreds more at hospitals throughout the country.

Mr Fenwick asked people to consider seeing their GP or local accident and emergency centre if possible.

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