Whanganui Hospital has confirmed its contingency planning has kicked in to manage the shortage of staff amid the nurses' strike.

Nurses, midwives and healthcare workers will strike today, marching between the hospital and the roundabout where Heads Rd meets State Highway 3.

They will be out from 7am until 5pm.

The Allied Health director at the Whanganui District Health Board, Kim Fry, said the strike would disrupt services.

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All elective surgeries have been held off until after the strike and the DHB said those affected had been contacted.

"Please be reassured that Whanganui Hospital remains open," Fry said.

"Life-preserving services are available during the strike period. Those needing urgent care will receive it.

"However, we are advising people not to come to the Emergency Department (ED) unless they are seriously unwell."

The DHB has also liaised with external providers for additional support.

Radiology (x-rays, MRI scans and sonography) and mobile dental units will be working as normal.

The DHB said if anyone had concerns during the strike they should call 0800 113 887 between 8.30am and 4.30pm.