The emergency department at Whanganui Hospital will operate as usual during the doctors' strike.

Resident doctors - sometimes referred to as junior doctors - will strike from 7am on October 18 to 7am October 20 over rostering.

WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson said some elective surgery and outpatients clinic bookings would need to be changed because of the strike, and patients would be contacted.

"Please note that the Emergency Department will be open for business as usual and if any Whanganui residents have concerns regarding service provision leading up to, and during the strike, you are welcome to contact the hospital operator on 06 348 1234" she said.

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She said contingency planning was "well underway to ensure patients receive a full range of emergency and acute services, plus as many elective services as can safely be provided, during the resident doctors' strike."

Resident doctors are striking nationally over rostering that means they can work seven night shifts in a row and 12 day shifts in a row.

Seventeen doctors at Whanganui Hospital are expected to strike. They are members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association.