The Lakes District Health Board has started planning to manage 48 hours of strike action by the Resident Doctors' Association.

The planned strike will be from 7am January 15 until 7am January 17.

Previous industrial action involving junior doctors saw most non-urgent services cancelled in order to ensure the DHB's senior doctors could focus on those in most need.

Lakes DHB contingency planner Nina Dobson said on the strike days, all elective or scheduled surgeries would need to be postponed, along with the majority of outpatient clinics.

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Patients will be contacted individually by Lakes DHB if their appointment or procedure needs to be changed.

Lakes District Health Board map. Photo / File
Lakes District Health Board map. Photo / File

The DHB said yesterday that every effort would be made to reschedule all affected patients as soon as possible.

Additionally, some elective surgery scheduled for the days leading up to the planned strike may need to be rescheduled, as part of the plan to reduce the overall number of patients in the hospital during the strike.

Only urgent cases will be able to be dealt with at the emergency departments at Rotorua and Taupō Hospitals during the industrial action.

The notice of strike action was received on New Year's Eve.

It involves complete withdrawal of labour by members of the NZRDA, the main union for resident medical officers or junior doctors.

A total of 93 junior doctors (first and second-year house officers and registrars) are normally employed by Lakes DHB.

The Lakes DHB said contingency planning meetings would be held regularly to ensure all potential issues were identified and addressed.

Acting chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said the proposed industrial action may affect people's healthcare plans.

"Any changes to our hospital operations are considered necessary in order to make sure that the safety of our patients in need is not compromised."

People should start planning to make sure they are up to date with their prescriptions and other requirements, and if they get into difficulty, they should make their GP their first port of call.

People can also contact Healthline 0800 611 116 for advice and information from a trusted registered nurse, 24/7.