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Junior doctors to press ahead with strike

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/01/2017

Resident doctors are likely to press ahead with a planned 73-hour strike next week as they campaign for changes to their employment agreement.

The strike, the second in six months, will run from 7am on January 17 to 8am on January 20 and will affect thousands of patients.

The New Zealand Resident Doctors Association says its members are campaigning because they work unsafe hours.

It says it's having difficulty striking a new agreement with hospitals because the District Health Boards did not send senior teams to the negotiations.

"The DHBs have persisted with a process whereby the (chief executives) send people to the table to represent them, but without the ability to make agreements," union secretary Dr Deborah Powell said.

"This has previously resulted in what looks like a possible settlement at the table being rejected by the (chief executives), a step backwards in bargaining, and prolonging of the dispute."

Lead chief executive for the DHBs, Julie Patterson, told Radio NZ more than 2200 patients would be affected by the strike.

She said 500 patient bookings had already been postponed in Waikato DHB and 350 at the Bay of Plenty DHB.

The union said while it had concerns about rostering, it had also made suggested concessions, including agreeing to work back-to-back weekends and to take up to half of days off on weekdays.

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

They primarily work in the public sector where they are employed by all 20 DHBs.

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