The Hawke's Bay District Health Board is urging people to do more to manage their health needs to counter the possible effects of a junior doctors' strike set to start on Monday.
Chief medical and dental officer hospital Dr Robin Whyman says five days of rolling strikes, notified by the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association to take place from April 29 to May 4, would place significant strain on hospital resources and could cause lengthy delays for non-urgent care.
Emergency and acute services will continue but some elective surgery and outpatient clinic appointments will be postponed.
"This is traditionally a very busy time for our hospital anyway," Whyman said. "We are asking people to please help us out and be sensible about their healthcare needs by choosing the right care, from the right place at the right time.
"We strongly encourage people to use the hospital's emergency department for emergencies only as priority will always be given to those with life-threatening conditions."
People are encouraged to follow Choose Well tips for non-urgent care, including keeping prescriptions are up-to-date, and to try to avert worsening conditions by checking with a general practice or medical centre when feeling unwell.
Resident Doctors' Association representatives and DHBs nationally were today continuing discussions with hopes of averting the strike action.