The Bay of Plenty District Health Board says the union representing striking junior doctors would not provide its membership lists to assist with contingency planning at the region's hospitals this week.

But the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association has hit back, saying it is not required to and in some situations refrained from doing so to protect its members.

This comes as the 48-hour strike action draws to a close, with junior doctors returning to work from 7am this morning around the country.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board said there were 100 elective surgeries and 549 outpatient appointments postponed at Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals because of the striking on Tuesday and Wednesday, which affected about 650 people.


Another 48-hour strike is planned for the end of this month.

The district health board's contingency planning lead, Neil McKelvie, said Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals experienced a steady flow of patients to their emergency departments during the strike.

He said senior doctors were released from their elective activities – such as performing surgeries and consulting in their outpatient clinics – so they could work at the "front door" of the hospitals (the emergency departments and on the acute wards).

"This allowed the decision making, which is normally covered by the junior doctors, to continue through the senior doctors on duty.

"Unfortunately to do this, we had to postpone elective surgeries and outpatients appointments to ensure patient safety."

McKelvie said for the next 48-hour junior doctors' strike – which is planned to take place from 8am on January 29 to 8am on January 31 – the district health board's contingency planning would take into account things learned during this week's action.

"For example, we were having to complete our planning without knowing which junior doctors were members of the NZRDA and could possibly take strike action," he said.

"We now know who the doctors are who will be working. It's important to note that for [this week's] strike, the NZRDA, would not provide their membership lists to assist our contingency planning."


In response to those comments, a media spokesman for the resident doctors' association said: "In those situations where they were required, we promptly provided membership lists to DHBs.

"In other situations, we refrained from providing lists (we are not required to) because in the past the DHBs have used the lists to pester our members and to try to bully them into not striking. It's a matter of protecting our members from DHB harassment."

Those claims were put to the district health board yesterday. A media spokeswoman said it would not be commenting on them.

Meanwhile, the association's media spokesman also said: "the DHBs won't know with any certainty which members will be striking next time."

He said many new members had joined the association since the first strike notice was issued.

"Those members were not able to strike in the first strike but will be striking in the second."


The spokesman said yesterday that the union did not record how many of its members took part in a strike.

He also said the second 48-hour strike would be more of the same – "there are likely to be pickets in more cities, though".

McKelvie said the district health board would be looking at how it could further minimise the number of disruptive postponements of patient appointments during the next strike.

"Underpinning all of the actions we consider when completing contingency planning, is that everything we do has to be in the best interest of the patients, the community we serve and our staff."

There are 192 junior doctors employed by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board. Not all of them are members of the association.