It was a bigger Whanganui District Health Board than usual on Friday, when the board met for the first time since the local government elections.

It was the final meeting for the existing board's term, while the newly-appointed members - Graham Adams, Charlie Anderson and Annette Main - attended the meeting as observers.

Allan Anderson, Kate Joblin and Ray Stevens were attending their last board meeting. Mr Anderson and Ms Joblin have stepped down; and Mr Stevens was not re-elected.

The new board will be inducted on December 5, and will hold its first meeting on December 16.


Philippa Baker-Hogan raised the issue of some patients being required to travel to Palmerston North for appointments.

"This has been an issue for our community for as long as I can remember," she said.

Ms Baker-Hogan asked for a workshop to be held to discuss possible options. Chief executive Julie Patterson said the board would hold a planning meeting in February, so discussions could take place as part of that.

Ms Patterson updated board members on proposed industrial action by the hospital's junior doctors. Junior doctors throughout the country are expected to strike on November 23-24 for a second time, over what they say are unsafe working conditions.

Ms Patterson told board members a legal challenge had been mounted of the legality of the ballot to strike. She said if the ballot was found to be illegal, the industrial action could potentially be delayed until the Christmas-New Year period.

Ms Baker-Hogan was concerned that if this happened some staff could be asked to cancel their leave; but Ms Patterson said that was unlikely.

Ms Patterson said planning for the strike had already begun.

"At this time strike going ahead, and we are planning accordingly," she said.