Surgeries, clinics suspended as thousands prepare to strike

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Many elective and clinical surgeries scheduled across the country for Monday are postponed in anticipation of 10,000 paramedic health workers leaving work for 24 hours.

File Picture
Photo: 123rf

District health boards and the Public Service Association have agreed to maintain life preservation services for the duration of the industrial action.

Efforts to settle the wage demands of workers such as lab technicians, physiotherapists, social workers, pharmacists and psychologists have failed.

DHBs contacted by RNZ said some elective surgeries and outpatient clinics will be canceled on Monday, but patients must attend scheduled appointments unless they have been contacted.

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Emergency services will remain open.

A Canterbury DHB spokesperson said many of its services will be affected by the strike and waiting times will be longer.

About 100 outpatient appointments and 220 community appointments run by Allied Health staff have been canceled for tomorrow.

“The 24-hour strike will generally affect patient flow, particularly some community referrals where physiotherapy, social work, occupational therapy and dieticians are often involved,” a DHB spokesperson said.

“Where appropriate and safe, we will send patients home before the strike to reduce pressure on working staff.”

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Only urgent laboratory tests will take place on Monday for life-saving criteria for critical patients.

Burwood Hospital’s elective operating rooms will be closed and five operating rooms will be open at Christchurch Hospital for life-saving surgery.

“We would normally have around 15 surgeries at Burwood and around 90 surgeries at Christchurch Hospital on a Monday, however, it is difficult to quantify the exact number of surgical admissions that have been postponed due to the strike as some surgeries are not have not been scheduled. as they would normally be due to the pandemic response,” the spokesperson said.

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“We respect the right of staff to take industrial action and recognize the important role health workers play in delivering high quality care.”

Exteriors of Burwood Hospital during covi-1 level 4 lockdown

Burwood Hospital in Christchurch is one of many that will be affected by the industrial action.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Auckland DHB said patient safety remains its priority and it will continue to provide emergency and life-saving services.

“Please show up for your scheduled appointment unless we have contacted you directly to let you know your appointment is rescheduled.”

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