11/01/2019 1:47:24 p.m.

Friday 11 January 2019

Lakes District Health Board has plans in place to manage 48 hours of industrial action by the Resident Doctors’ Association, due to begin on the morning of Tuesday 15 January (0700 hours) until Thursday 17 January (0700 hours).

Acting Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood says contingency planning meetings have been held regularly for several weeks and contingency planning staff have worked through the Christmas and New Year period, in order to ensure all potential issues are identified and addressed. Any changes to hospital operations are considered necessary to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

The strike action means a complete withdrawal of labour by members of the NZRDA, one of two unions for Resident Medical Officers (RMOs). A total of 93 RMOs (first and second year house officers and registrars) are normally employed by Lakes District Health Board.

On the strike days, all elective or scheduled surgeries have been cancelled. Many outpatient clinics for the strike days have also been cancelled. Any affected patients have been notified and Lakes DHB staff are making every effort to reschedule all affected patients as soon as possible. Any patients uncertain of the status of their appointment can ring 0800 223 647 to check.

As part of the plan to reduce the number of patients in hospital during the strike, some elective surgery, scheduled for the days leading up to the strike has also been rescheduled.

Urgent cases will be able to be dealt with at the Emergency Departments at Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals during the industrial action. People should make sure they are up to date with their prescriptions and other health requirements now, and if they have minor health issues, make their GP their first port of call. People can also contact Healthline 0800 611 116 for advice and information from a trusted registered nurse, 24/7.

Nick Saville-Wood says the DHB apologises to patients whose healthcare plans are affected by the industrial action.

“The main focus of all our planning is the safety of patients and staff and ensuring that those people who need urgent health care over the 48 hours of the strike will get it,” he says.

For more information contact: Sue Wilkie Communications Officer or Shan Tapsell, Assistant Communications Officer Phone extn 7944 or mobile 027 242 3652