Junior doctors and midwives from Tauranga and Whakatāne Hospitals will walk off the job today as part of ongoing strikes.
The junior doctors, members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association, are on strike for 48 hours from 8am, joining thousands of others around the country in a bid to keep current working conditions.
The midwives, members of the Midwifery Employee Representation Service union, will strike for 12 hours from 9am today as part of a series of strikes across the country this week.
Some will form a picket line across the road from Tauranga Hospital from 11am today.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board contingency planning leader Neil McKelvie said some outpatient appointments and elective surgery procedures had to be postponed.
"The industrial action does mean we will have reduced numbers of junior doctors on our wards and generally across the hospital. However we are doing all that we can to lessen the impact of these strikes on our communities," he said.
Only emergency and essential services will be available at Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals until the doctors' strike ends at 8am on Thursday.
No women requiring maternity services will be turned away.
District Health Boards (DHBs) and the doctor's association spent two days in mediation talks last week to try and settle the dispute around essential employment contract clauses.
The junior resident doctors want to retain their current contract conditions, which limit their number of days they work in a row to 10 and continue to have a say where they work.
The DHBs want to make some changes to trainee doctors' rostering.
Association senior advocate David Munro said he was pleased that talks would continue with a further round of mediation on Friday.
"While still a way off settlement, we look forward to working productively with the DHBs to resolve the ongoing dispute and ensure that our resident doctors get a fair deal, " he said.
A spokesman for the DHBs said the boards were disappointed at the further strike action by junior doctors but pleased the parties were still talking.
"The DHBs believe rostering decisions should be made locally on the advice of senior and junior doctors, rather than the union deciding whether a roster can be implemented."
"Meanwhile, the DHBs are also negotiating with the union for midwives and will respond to the union later this week," the spokesman said.
Meras union co-leader Caroline Conroy the midwives wanted to have their "unique skills and responsibilities valued and recognised" in terms of any remuneration offer from their employer.
She said the health board negotiators put a proposal to union representatives addressing members' key issues on February 1.
"Unfortunately, this proposal could not be considered by the DHBs chief executive group until Wednesday and with no formal offer yet, it was decided the strike should go ahead. "
The midwives' strikes would culminate in a march to Parliament on Thursday.
Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals strike action
- Junior doctors' strike: Starts at 8am today and ends at 8am on February 14
- Tauranga and Whakatane midwives 12-hour strike: From 9am to 9pm today.
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