More than a third of the junior doctors employed by the Tauranga and Whakatāne Hospitals were on strike yesterday.

102 of the 161 junior doctors rostered to work across the two hospitals striked on Monday, Bay of Plenty District Health Board acting chief executive Simon Everitt said.

This meant about 41 per cent of the junior doctor force chose to walk off the job.

Seventy-six non–urgent elective theatre procedures and 543 outpatient appointments have been deferred during this five day strike period, Everitt said.

The deferred elective theatre procedures would be rebooked as soon as possible, he said.

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Everitt said Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals were "coping well."

"Our focus is the safety of our patients and staff. Priority has been given to ensuring we are able to provide all emergency and essential services and we thank our staff who are providing these services" he said.

The five-day-strike was over a failure by both the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association and the 20 district health boards to agree on proposed changes to the doctors' employment contract.

The strike covers all DHBs across the country except Canterbury, where the hospital remains under pressure from the March 15 shootings.

The main problem for the union was that district health boards wanted hospital chief executives to have the final say over working arrangements, rosters and hours rather than the union head office.

In the event of an emergency, people were urged to dial 111.

If you require medical attention for a situation that is NOT life threatening or an emergency please contact your GP or the free Healthline on 0800 611 116 for health advice in the first instance, 24/7.