16 May 2024

Junior doctors strike for second time in two weeks

9:10 am on 16 May 2024
Picketers at Auckland Hospital, 16 May 2024

Junior doctors on strike outside Auckland Hospital on Thursday. Photo: RNZ/Melanie Earley

Hundreds of appointments and surgeries have been cancelled as junior doctors begin a two day strike.

Junior doctors walked off the job at 7am, for the second time in two weeks - this time for two days.

In the earlier one-day strike, hundreds of procedures and clinics were unable to take place.

Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand chief people officer Andrew Slater told Morning Report emergency departments remained open.

"If you have an appointment in the health system and we haven't contacted you please do come to that appointment. And if you have non-urgent ailments or injuries contact your GP or Healthline."

Slater said the strike was deeply disappointing, given the ongoing talks.

"On a typical week we normally have about 700 elective procedures per day, Monday to Friday, as a result of this strike, 25-hour strike last week, we're down 75 operating theatre sessions were impacted so that's about 200 patients and then a futher 189 outpatient clinic sessions."

Junior doctors were one of the most under-pressure workforces and efforts were being made to increase locally-trained doctors and the number being brought from overseas, Slater said.

'Not enough progress'

Picketer at Auckland Hospital, 16 May 2024

On strike at Auckland Hospital on Thursday morning. Photo: RNZ/Melanie Earley

Auckland City Hospital union representative Rosa Tobin Stickings said Te Whatu Ora had aggreed to remove the potential paycuts for some specialities.

However, she said not enough progress had been made.

"We need to get it sorted and that's why we're on strike."

Stickings said union membership meant some doctors doing the same job would be paid differently and there was not enough being done to stem the flow of junior doctors to Australia.

"We're not seeing enough movement, we need the pressure to be put on."

Facilitation continues next week.

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