Rotorua Hospital Services Running Smoothly
15/01/2019 12:10:25 p.m.

Tuesday 15 January 2019 11.00am update 

Rotorua Hospital Services Running Smoothly for First Few Hours of RMO Strike

The first few hours of the strike action by Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) at Rotorua Hospital have gone well with plans in place to manage services running smoothly.

The RMOs (doctors from the first years after graduating to registrars in advanced stages of their training) began 48 hours of strike action at 7.00am this morning, Tuesday 15 January until 7.00am on Thursday 17 January 2019.

Lakes DHB Acting Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood says at the contingency meeting this morning senior managers and clinical staff reported that processes in place were working well. Rotorua Hospital is busy with acute patients, but contingency plans to manage are working well. Rotorua Hospital’s Emergency Department has had a steady flow of people attend between 7.00am, when the strike started and 11.00 am this morning.

Nick Saville-Wood says the planning and support of staff including: senior doctors, nurses, allied health workers, hospital managers and support staff is much appreciated and has ensured a robust contingency plan to manage emergency hospital services over the two days. Nick Saville-Wood says any decisions about changes to services have been made to allow clinical staff to focus on those in most need.

The contingency planning focuses on ensuring the continuing provision of essential emergency services including acute surgery, emergency department care, intensive care, and maternity care.

Elective (planned) surgery for about 20 patients over the period of the strike has been rescheduled, which means fewer admissions to hospital over the strike period. Most new admissions to hospital will be for patients who have an accident and need emergency surgery or for services that can not wait for example maternity services.

About 350 outpatient appointments have also been rescheduled to allow staff to focus on emergency services. Those patients affected by the strike, have been contacted to let them know that their appointment had to be rescheduled. Any patients uncertain of the status of their appointment can ring 0800 223 647 to check.

Contingency planning meetings have been held daily at Rotorua Hospital since notice of strike action by the NZ Resident Doctors’ Union was received at the end of December.

The strike action involves a complete withdrawal of labour by members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRDA), the union for Resident Medical Officers. About 93 RMOs are currently employed by Lakes DHB.

Urgent cases are able to be dealt with at the Emergency Departments at Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals during the industrial action. People should ensure they are up to date with their prescriptions and other requirements, and if they get into difficulty they should make their GP or Lakes PrimeCare their first port of call. People can also contact Healthline 0800 611 116 for 24/7 advice and information from a registered nurse.

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 those who need urgent health care over the 48 hours of the strike will get it,” says Nick Saville-Wood.


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