Tensions between doctors and District Health Boards (DHBs) are rising as members of the country’s junior doctors’ union plan to strike again on Tuesday, with further industrial action looming.
Doctors employed by DHBs will strike for a third time, with a fourth set of 48 hour strikes to come in two weeks, the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRDA) announced after negotiations with DHBs failed.
Junior doctors, also known as resident medical officers (RMOs), have expressed concern over being rostered on for 16 hours a day, sometimes more than 10 days in a row.
“Until the DHBs accept that we will not give up essential clauses in our contract that safeguard our members, we will continue with planned strike action,” NZRDA senior advocate David Munro said.
He said mediation between doctors and the DHBs will resume on Friday.
Dr Peter Bramley, who represents the DHBs, said the two parties have been “working toward a solution in the interests of patient care”.
“DHBs are absolutely committed to ensuring that all of our employees have safe working conditions and our primary commitment to our public is that we deliver safe care.”
Mr Munro said RMOs have been “overwhelmingly consistent in voting in favour of strike action”.
“As we continue to gain new members, the determination and strength of our resident doctors is reflected in our ballots.”
Those with non-urgent illnesses or injuries have been urged to visit their GP in the first instance if possible.