Junior doctors strike to go ahead

A junior doctors’ strike will go ahead on Tuesday after one of their unions and Te Whatu Ora failed to reach a last-minute agreement.

That meant about half the country’s junior doctors would walk off the job for 24 hours from 7am.

The two sides were holding talks as late as Monday morning to try to avoid the action.

The doctors said they were striking in support of a few hundred of their members set to get a pay cut.

Resident Doctors’ Association spokesperson Deborah Powell said Te Whatu Ora was unable to shift the financial parameters.

“It does require Te Whatu Ora to put some more money in so how long is a piece of string, I guess? It’s not that much more money but at the moment they’re not prepared to do that.

Powell said 97 percent of members voted in favour of strike action, which was unprecedented.

In a statement, Te Whatu Ora chief people officer Andrew Slater said it remained focused on trying to achieve a settlement and avoid potential disruption to patients and the wider health system.

“Contingency planning for if the strike goes ahead is well advanced, with decisions being made locally on staffing and the delivery of services, to reflect local circumstances.

“Doctors and other health professionals will still be available during any strike action to ensure the continued availability of health services for those who need them.”

Slater said the impact on planned care at hospitals would vary.

“While we will in due course compile information on the impact on patients of the strike, we are not able to do that until the strike has occurred. Our focus has been and will continue to be on supporting our hospitals prepare should the strike eventuate.”

Slater said emergency departments would remain open if strike action went ahead, and unless patients were directly contacted, they should attend any schedules outpatient appointment.

“People with non-urgent ailments or injuries should contact their GP in the first instance. Anyone unsure about whether they need emergency department care should contact their GP or call Healthline (0800 611 116) for free advice.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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