Hauora Tairāwhiti braces for strike action

10 July 2018

NZNO nurses and healthcare assistants have rejected a fourth DHB settlement offer and Hauora Tairāwhiti is now making final adjustments to contingency plans for strike action this coming Thursday.

NZNO nursing and healthcare assistants covered by the NZNO MECA have issued notice for a full withdrawal of labour for 24 hours from 07:00 am on 12 July. Approximately 95% of nurses and healthcare assistants at Hauora Tairāwhiti are members of NZNO, meaning that there will be more than 380 of these staff members on strike. All midwives employed by Hauora Tairāwhiti are members of the Midwifery union, MERAS, and therefore are not involved in the intended industrial action.

There will be significant disruptions to all services. Jim Green, Hauora Tairāwhiti Chief Executive says “We have a very experienced contingency planning team which has put together a plan for essential services and to ensure the organisation runs as smoothly and safely as possible during the strike period. The main focus is patient and staff safety.” 

“Our preparation is a little different from that of the proposed strike on 5 July. The fact that school holidays will have started poses a challenge in itself, that there are usually more admissions and presentations during the school holiday period.”

The contingency plan includes how the wards and departments will be managed during the strike period.  In addition, an agreement is in place between the union and the DHB to ensure that there is staff available for critical situations.  This is referred to as Life Preserving Services (LPS). Mr Green adds, “We are very grateful to the non-striking staff, volunteers and families who will also contribute to keeping patients and staff safe.”

Most planned services have been rescheduled to minimise delays for patients who are in acute conditions to be seen quickly, however, there may be delays in the Emergency Department if people come on Thursday. There will be significant changes to the way we work and provide service during strike action.  During the period of the strike, some inpatient wards will be open, as will the emergency department. 

The main message for the Tairāwhiti community leading up to 12 July is to see their GP or nurse or call Healthline 0800 611 116 in preference to coming to the emergency department for non-emergency problems. However, for urgent cases, you should not delay in seeking medical attention or coming to the emergency department. For any concerns from the public regarding appointments or services, the hotline 0800 800 620 has been created and is now active.

ENDS

 

Media queries can be directed to Hauora Tairāwhiti Communications Manager – fraser.hopkins@tdh.org.nz or 021 223 7094