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Junior doctors to continue strike

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/01/2017

Patients across New Zealand can expect more delayed treatments and surgeries as junior doctors continue their three-day strike over working conditions.

The 73-hour strike began on Tuesday morning and affects 18 district health boards across the country until it ends at 8am on Friday.

The junior doctors spent Tuesday striking in different ways, with doctors in Christchurch holding a small picket, while others in Gisborne baked cakes and scones for the local hospice.

The Resident Doctors Association union secretary Dr Deborah Powell said her union had worked with hospital officials before the strike to ensure patient treatment went smoothly.

"It went smoothly inside the hospitals as well as outside," she said.

It's the second time in six months the doctors have gone off work, with the RDA arguing the rosters and hours its members are being asked to work are not safe.

Dr Powell said she couldn't say exactly how many of the RDA's roughly 3000 doctors, who are employed by District Health Boards and eligible to strike, took part.

"Some will have gone to work I have no doubt, it is a pretty hard decision for these doctors and some just can't bring themselves to do it," she said.

"But the vast majority of them would have been on strike."

She said the strike action would continue on Wednesday and she could not say when the union would reach agreement with the DHBs.

"This matter has gone to the (DHB chief executives now) to make a decision, they are not meeting until Thursday," she said.

"Until Thursday rolls around and we hear from the CEOs we won't know what happens."

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