Radiographers are the latest health professionals walking off the job in protest of workplace conditions and a number of local radiographers are among the hundreds across the country doing so today. Reporter Jean Bell speaks to those involved. .
More than 50 radiographers employed by Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals are walking off the job today in protest of staff shortages.
The 24-hour strike will start at 7am and another strike is planned for Wednesday.
The action is part of a nationwide strike of nearly 1100 radiographers employed by district health boards around the country after nine months of failed negotiations between the union and DHBs.
The procedures radiographers, also known as medical imaging technologists, perform include x-rays, CT and MRI scans.
Apex national secretary Deborah Powell said 53 Bay of Plenty Health Board radiographers would on strike.
"This workforce crisis has gotten to a point where the MITs [radiographers] simply can't cope anymore."
Radiographer at Tauranga Hospital and Apex union representative Geraint Davies said demand for radiographer services had increased significantly over the past six years, but staffing levels had remained the same and retaining staff could be a challenge.
"The staff we do recruit have only been enough to replace those that we have lost. We continue to lose younger recruits as they seek better wages with the private sector and internationally," he said.
He said Tauranga staff had been covering shifts at Whakatane Hospital, which was struggling to hire and retain new staff. This put further pressure on staffing in Tauranga.
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Bay of Plenty District Health Board has been contacted for comment.
According to the DHB's website, the strikes will have a significant impact at Tauranga and Whakatāne Hospitals.
Most services would remain open but many would have reduced availability.
The DHB had contingency plans but some elective services would be postponed.
- There will be two strikes by staff at Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals this week.
- The first strike will run from 7am today to 7am tomorrow. The second strike will run from 7am on Wednesday to 7am on Thursday.
- The staff on strike include those who usually perform x-rays, CT scans and assist with a number of radiology procedures, for example insertion of pacemakers in the cardiac catheter lab and other interventional procedures.
- Keep the emergency department for emergencies. In the event of an emergency please call 111 for an ambulance.
- If you require medical attention for life-threatening situation, people should do what they normally do, visit or phone their GP, or talk to their pharmacist.
- For after-hours medical advice call your GP (your call will be automatically forwarded to a 24/7 health service), or call the free 24/7 HealthLine 0800 611 116.
Source: Bay of Plenty District Health Board