Some 500 Waitemata DHB staff have walked off the job today in protest of what they've described as an "over-stretched workforce" that's putting patients at risk.

Members of the Public Service Association [PSA], including social workers, physio therapists, occupational therapists and other allied health workers, went on strike for two hours this morning in four spots across the city.

Another is set to take place at Auckland DHB sites tomorrow and another in Counties Manukau on Thursday.

Both the PSA and the DHBs are assuring the public that patient care would not be compromised as contingency plans were in place to maintain business as usual.


Auckland DHBs spokeswoman, Julie Patterson, said scheduled surgeries would go ahead, although there might be "some rescheduling".

However, she urged patients with appointments over the next two weeks to contact their DHB to ensure no disruption to their plans.

The DHBs have also invited the PSA to return to bargaining to resolve their issues on the condition the current strike action is ceased.

Ms Patterson said the issue of workload pressure had not been raised at prior bargaining, nor had it been signalled in its own workload survey.

However the PSA members were upset at the DHBs' latest response.

Assistant secretary Warwick Jones said an Auckland DHB internal survey showed staff were feeling overworked.

"We're happy to go back to bargaining but considering Auckland District Health Boards won't accept staff are overworked, or that we've raised the issue, really goes to the heart of why staff are taking our message to the public."