Hawke's Bay Hospital is bracing itself for a week-long junior doctor strike, and is asking people to think twice before coming into the Emergency Department next week in preparation.

ED acting head Brad Sandleback said they absolutely wanted to see people experiencing an emergency, but otherwise wanted them to think about other options.

"If they have an emergency then we absolutely want to be seeing them, and they need to come into the Emergency Department.

"If it's not an emergency then they need to make better choices, and that's either asking their chemist, or going to their GP or getting advice on heath lines.

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"If it is after hours then there are certainly other options, Hastings Health has urgent care along with City Medical."

He said the hospital and the health system in general was under strain, at a busy time of the year and they are asking the public to be patient with them.

He said people who did come to the emergency department for non emergencies would most likely experience long wait times.

Pip Hutchinson, shift co-ordinator, and Dr Brad Sandleback, acting head of emergency department, in the lead-up to the strike. Photo / Warren Buckland
Pip Hutchinson, shift co-ordinator, and Dr Brad Sandleback, acting head of emergency department, in the lead-up to the strike. Photo / Warren Buckland

He said issues like strained muscles, sprains, cuts and bruises were examples of what could be treated at home or through a GP.

"Obviously if they are having significant bleeding, they have significant pain, all those other things we really worry about like chest pain, we would want to be seeing that."

He said in most cases simple common sense would help people decide whether they needed to go to the emergency department or not.

The hospital had also postponed some surgeries and outpatient appointments in the lead-up to the strike. A spokesperson for Hawke's Bay District Health Board said those affected should have been contacted.

However, she said if anyone had concerns about whether their surgery or outpatient appointment was going ahead, they should contact the hospital.

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The strike, which is affecting all DHBs apart from Canterbury, starts at 8am Monday morning and goes until 8am on Saturday.

The DHBs have urged junior doctors to call off the strikes, as a date for facilitation has already been set.

DHB spokesman Peter Bramley said the NZ Resident Doctors Association had asked for facilitation, and that had been agreed to.

"There is nothing to be gained from a strike.

"Facilitation involves independent experts looking at both sides of the issue and making an impartial recommendation for settlement. The strike will have no impact or bearing on the facilitation, all it does is disrupt patients."

Junior doctors are striking over who controls rosters. DHBs want hospital chief executives to have the final say over rosters. The union head office wants oversight in rostering.