Resident doctors, including around 40 doctors in Whanganui, have voted to take strike action later this month.

Deborah Powell, from the New Zealand Residents Doctors Association (NZRDA), said yesterday members had voted to strike for two days in support of their claim for safer working hours.

The doctors' working hours claim is part of negotiations of their multi-employer collective agreement with the country's 20 district health boards.

Dr Powell said the strike would begin at 7am on October 18 and finish at 7am on October 20.

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"It will involve a complete withdrawal of labour by NZRDA members."

She said it was "extremely disappointing" that the resident doctors had seen no other way to resolve the dispute.

"The DHB's resistance to meaningfully improve current unsafe rostering practices has left us no choice," Dr Powell said.

"We have yet to see sufficient real change in the system after four years of engagement and 10 months of bargaining."

"We see no other way to secure safer rosters for doctors and the patients we care for."

Last week, Dr Powell told the Chronicle that while health boards had made offers such as reducing night shifts from seven in a row to four in a row, and making a commitment to address doctors working 12 days in a row, the changes wouldn't happen for another two years.

There has been no indication so far as to how Whanganui District Health Board will handle medical cover during the strike.