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Junior doctors' strike set to kick off

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/01/2017

Patients across New Zealand are expected to have hospital treatments and surgeries delayed due to an expected three-day strike by junior doctors, health providers say.

The 73-hour strike is expected to affect 18 district health boards across the country when it kicks off at 7am on Tuesday and runs until 8am on Friday.

Southern DHB, responsible for public health and hospital services in Southland and Otago, is among those affected and said it has 271 junior doctors but is unsure how many will participate in the strike.

"The safety and well-being of our patients is our paramount concern, and we are well prepared to manage medical services during the strike period," interim chief executive Chris Fleming said.

"Our hospitals are open, our emergency departments are open, and urgent and acute care, including cancer treatments, ICU and maternity care, will proceed during the strike period."

The strike is the second in six months with the doctor's union, the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association, arguing the rosters and work hours its members are being asked to work is not safe.

Southern DHB's Mr Fleming said he regretted the inconvenience caused to the community and said his organisation was working hard to resolve the dispute with junior doctors.

"The public should know that we are doing everything we can feasibly do to try to resolve the impasse," he said.

"Our senior doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and Southern DHB support staff are working to provide the best care possible under the circumstances."

Resident doctors range in experience from first year qualified doctors to those with more than 12 years' experience.

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