The Resident Doctors Association has cancelled its national strike, because of the north Canterbury earthquake.

The union said today it would withdraw all strike notices issued to the 20 district health boards for the 48-hour strike that was to start at 7am on Wednesday next week.

"Whilst RDA members had planned to go ahead with another round of strike action next week, in light of the recent earthquake and associated difficulties facing the public, our national executive has made the decision to withdraw the notices" says the union's national secretary, Deborah Powell.

"We understand that this is a distressing time both for our communities and for the DHB staff in the earthquake-affected areas and we do not wish to add to this already stressful situation.


"Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the events that have recently taken place."

The health boards' spokeswoman, Julie Patterson, said they welcomed the cancellation of the strike.

"The union's decision is a positive one and should be commended, it clears the way for the parties to return to the bargaining table."

Further dates for bargaining have been agreed.