News and Notices

Contingency planning underway for doctors’ strike

On 3 October Nelson Marlborough Health, along with all other New Zealand district health boards, was issued a strike notice by the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRDA).

This advises a strike by some of our Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) who are members of the NZRDA for 48 hours from 7am 18 October until 7 am 20 October.

Nelson Marlborough Health has started its contingency planning to prepare for the absence of the resident doctors (junior medical  workforce)  during this time to ensure the continuity of service and patient safety.

Our focus is on maintaining emergency services and providing urgent care.

The extent of the effects on non-urgent elective surgeries is not yet known but Nelson Marlborough Health will contact individual patients who may be affected, in advance of the strike action.

Nelson Marlborough Health employs 77 RMOs and approximately 55 per cent are union members.

Background information to the strike

The strike was called after the NZRDA rejected the collective 20 DHBs’ formal offer arising from the current multi employer collective agreement negotiation process.

The revised offer was made during mediation on 3 October. That offer included:

  • a  5 per cent increase in salary rates over three years
  • a lump sum payment of $450 to each RMO
  • a nationally-overseen process to improve RMO rosters which includes:
    • a triaged approach, prioritising rosters that are identified as of most pressing concern
    • implementation of the first group of rosters no later than June 2017
    • a commitment to introduce ‘4/3’ split nights as claimed by the Union as a minimum outcome of these roster reviews
    • a commitment to address the issue of rosters providing instances where RMOs might be rostered to work for 12 consecutive days.

In a statement issued by Julie Patterson, DHBs’ national Workforce and Employment Relations Programme lead chief executive, Mrs Patterson said that the offer, if agreed to, “would lead to New Zealand doctors having some of the best hours of work in the world.”

“All the DHBs regret the effects the union’s decision will have on the public and the RMO’s colleagues”, says Mrs Patterson.