The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is assuring patients that disruptions will be minimal when resident medical officers (RMOs) and midwives go on strike this week.

RMOs who are members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association (NZRDA) plan to strike for a third time from 8am tomorrow, February 12 until 8am on Thursday, February 14.

Midwives who are members of the MERAS union also plan to take strike action for 12 hours from 9am on Wednesday, February 13.

WDHB acting chief executive Paul Malan says he has confidence in the planning taking place to safely minimise the level of disruption felt by patients and the public due to the industrial action.

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"As was the case for the RDA strikes in January, Whanganui Hospital's Emergency Department will be open for business as usual for emergencies.

"However, we will again need to reschedule some elective surgery and Outpatient clinics booked for those two days," Malan says.

He gives assurance that plans are well in hand to ensure patients receive a full range of emergency and acute services, plus as many elective services as can be safely provided.

"As with the January strikes, any patients with a planned surgery, procedure or outpatient appointment booked for the days of the strike will be contacted as soon as possible, if this needs to be rearranged. "

"As always, patient safety is foremost in our minds so all decisions regarding the rescheduling of appointments or surgery will be carefully considered."

He says patients should still come to their scheduled appointment or surgery on the days of the strike action unless WDHB staff have contacted them directly to say their appointment is being rescheduled.

Malan says people with non-urgent ailments or injuries should visit their GP or after hours clinic in the first instance.

Anyone unsure about whether they need ED care should contact their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free advice from a registered nurse.

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