Planning is well in hand at Whanganui Hospital to cope with this week's strike by junior doctors.

Junior or resident doctors will be on strike for 48 hours, from 7am on January 15 to 7am on January 17.

There would still be a full range of emergency and acute services available during that time, Whanganui District Health Board acting chief executive Brian Walden said.

Non-urgent or elective services may be restricted.


People whose surgery or appointments are affected will be contacted. Anyone who is not contacted should assume their appointment still stands.

The emergency department will be open as usual, but Walden would like its use to be kept for emergencies only.

People with non-urgent ailments or injuries should visit their GP or after-hours clinic. Anyone unsure whether they need emergency department help can phone their GP or Healthline (0800 611 116) for free advice from a nurse.

The strike is on because mediation between junior doctors and district health boards has failed to reach an agreement. The New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association (NZRA), the union, says district health boards are trying to claw back important provisions in their contract.

It was disappointing some trainee doctors at the hospital had decided to strike, Walden said.

"Unfortunately, we will have to reschedule some elective surgery and outpatient clinics booked for those two days."

The NZRA is planning a second strike on January 29 and 30.