Lakes DHB hospitals running smoothly in early hours of second RMO strike
29/01/2019 11:33:31 a.m.

Tuesday 29 January 2019 11.30am update

Lakes DHB Hospitals running smoothly in early hours of second RMO strike

The first few hours of the second strike action by Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) at Rotorua Hospital have gone well with plans in place to manage services running relatively 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 8.00am this morning, Tuesday 29 January until 8.00am on Thursday 31 January 2019.

This morning’s contingency meeting heard from senior managers and clinical staff that processes in place were working well.

The emergency departments at both Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals were very busy over the holiday weekend, and the rate of hospital occupancy is higher than the planners would prefer, at this early stage of the two day strike.

Acting Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood says the planning and support of staff including senior doctors, nurses, allied health workers, hospital managers and support staff is really appreciated and has ensured a robust contingency plan to manage emergency hospital services over the two days.

He 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.

Most elective services and many outpatient clinics have been postponed, with Lakes DHB staff contacting affected patients to let them know, and rebook them. Any patients uncertain of the status of their appointment can ring 0800 223 647 to check.

This second strike involves a complete withdrawal of labour by members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRDA), the union for Resident Medical Officers. Last Friday Lakes DHB received notice of a third planned strike for 12-13 February. 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 safety of patient sand staff is the main focus of the contingency planning team, so that those who need urgent health care over the two days of the strike will receive that care.