Junior doctors' strikes have not affected any scheduled surgeries at Whanganui Hospital so far.

Throughout New Zealand, resident medical officers (RMOs) who are members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) plan to strike again from 8am on Tuesday, February 26, until 8am on Thursday, February 28.

It will be the fourth strike by RMOs this year as they seek improvements to their pay and conditions.

Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) says no patients have had surgeries cancelled because of the industrial action during any of the strike days to date.

Advertisement

"All available theatre sessions were utilised; therefore, no patients were potentially disadvantaged.

"One minor theatre session was not utilised on each of the three RDA strikes to date (i.e. three in total). No patients were postponed or cancelled, but potentially up to five patients could have been affected (the number of patients that could have been booked if the session was used)."

Sixteen patients' outpatients appointments were deferred during the first strike but none during the second and third strikes. One outpatient session was not utilised in both the first and third strikes, and two during the second strike.

WDHB says preparations are well in hand to ensure patients receive a full range of emergency and acute services, plus as many elective services as can be safely provided, during the coming strike action.

Chief executive Russell Simpson says he has confidence the level of disruption to patients and the public will be minimised as much as possible.

"As was the case for the previous three RDA strikes in recent weeks, Whanganui Hospital's emergency department will be open for 'business as usual' for emergencies," Simpson said.

"However, we will again need to reschedule some elective surgery and outpatient clinics booked for those two days.

"Any patients with a planned surgery, procedure or outpatient appointment booked for the days of the strike will be contacted as soon as possible, if this needs to be rearranged.

"As always, patient safety is front and centre in our minds so all decisions regarding the rescheduling of appointments or surgery will be carefully considered."

Patients should still attend their scheduled appointment or surgery on the days of the strike action unless WDHB staff have contacted them directly to say their appointment is being rescheduled.

• People with non-urgent ailments or injuries should visit their GP or after hours clinic in the first instance. Anyone unsure about whether they need emergency care should contact their GP or call Healthline (0800 611 116) for free advice from a registered nurse.