NZRDA RMO Strike (73 hours) 7am Tuesday 17 January - 8am Friday 20 January 2017

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NZRDA RMO Strike (73 hours) 7am Tuesday 17 January - 8am Friday 20 January 2017 

Junior doctors (RMOs) across the country are planning to go on strike for 73 hours between 7am Tuesday 17 January and 8am Friday 20 January 2017. This will have an impact on some of our services at Auckland City Hospital, Starship and Greenlane Clinical Centre.

We have put contingency plans in place to ensure minimal disruption and to ensure essential services such as our emergency department, emergency surgery and maternity care will continue to run safely. 

Unfortunately we have had to reschedule some of our patient appointments and elective surgery. We sincerely regret that this is necessary and we apologise to our patients who are affected.

All patients who appointments have been rescheduled will be contacted so if you haven’t been contacted by one of our team at Auckland DHB, you should come to your scheduled appointment.

Please be assured that all patients who need immediate hospital-based attention will still receive the treatment they require. However, people with non-urgent injuries may experience a longer wait.  

 If your condition is not urgent or severe please contact your GP, Health line or one of the After Hours Services where possible. As with any other time, if you have an emergency please don't hesitate to call 111.

The strike ends 8am Friday 20 January 2017.

Update January 2017

DHB Shared Services, representing the country's 20 District Health Boards (DHBs), have been in bargaining discussions since January 2016 with the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) to renew the national collective agreement for Resident Medical Officers (RMOs). The NZRDA has issued notice to DHBs that RMOs will strike again for 73 hours between 7am Tuesday 17 January and 8am Friday 20 January 2017.

At Auckland DHB we put quality and safety of patient care and our staff at the forefront and very much want to support their RMOs, improve their salaries and reduce their hours. Please see DHB Shared Services website​ (external link) for more information.

All DHBs, including Auckland DHB, will put contingency plans in place to ensure minimal disruption from this next strike. This may mean that we may need to reschedule some of our non-urgent patient appointments and most of our elective surgery again during this time. We sincerely regret that this is necessary and we apologise to any affected patients. Unless you are contacted by one of our team at Auckland DHB, you should come to your usual appointment as scheduled.

Essential services such as our emergency department, emergency surgery and maternity care will continue as usual.

We would like to apologise again to all patients who have been affected by any of the RMO strikes – we sincerely regret it has been necessary to defer any of you.  We would also like to thank all our medical staff who continue to work hard to cover striking colleagues and assure all our patients that we are here if you need us. Medical staff are available and we are providing all acute services.  If your condition is not urgent or severe please contact your GP in the first instance where possible. As with any other time, if you have an emergency please don’t hesitate to call 111.

The strike ends 8am Friday 20 January 2017.

 Update 15 November 2016

The New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) has withdrawn its strike notice issued to the 20 DHBs, effective immediately.  

 Update 8 November 2016

DHB Shared Services, representing the country's 20 District Health Boards (DHBs), have been in bargaining discussions since January 2016 with the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) to renew the national collective agreement for Resident Medical Officers (RMOs). At 3.13pm today, NZRDA issued notice to Auckland DHB that RMOs will strike again between 7am Wed 23 November and 7am Fri 25 November.

All DHBs, including Auckland DHB, will put contingency plans in place to ensure minimal disruption from the industrial action. This may mean that we may need to reschedule some of our non-urgent patient appointments and most of our elective surgery again during this time. We sincerely regret that this is necessary and we apologise to affected patients. We will endeavour not to do this where possible so unless you are contacted by one of our team at Auckland DHB, you should come to your usual appointment as scheduled.

Please see the DHB Shared Services website (external link) for more information about the RMO offer made by all DHBs.

 RMO Strike 18 Oct - 20 Oct

Thank you to everyone and welcome back to our RMOs

It’s been a busy time for all our clinical teams who have worked seamlessly to ensure all our patients were cared for and as few as possible deferred throughout the NZRDA’s 48 hour RMO strike.

We appreciate those patients who were not acute who visited their doctor or medical advisor in the first instance rather than present at our Emergency Department during this time.  Thank you also to the many patients who had elective surgery or an appointment deferred because of the strike and we are committed to rescheduling you as soon as we can. Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience to our patients and their families.

Our entire clinical teams and all our administration teams have been extraordinary throughout this time.  Thank you all so much for the longer hours you’ve worked and for being flexible and responsive so that we could ensure the safety of our patients. 

“I’d personally like to thank each and every one of our teams.   I’m extremely proud of the way everyone ‘pitched in’ throughout this time to ensure the impact of the RMO strike on patients in our care was minimised.  All our SMOs and other clinical staff, particularly our senior nurses, deserve to take a bow; not to mention the schedulers and bookers who worked hard to communicate as quickly as possible with patients the distressing news for many that they were being deferred,” says Auckland DHB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Margaret Wilsher.

 “Like me, many SMOs have enjoyed the experience of working closely together with colleagues we may not usually work with on a daily basis and the opportunity to work at the ‘coal face’ has allowed some of us to refresh clinical skills.”

 “I’d also like to welcome back our RMOs and reiterate our concern for your health and well-being, particularly if your roster is onerous and you are experiencing fatigue. Please let your supervisor know if that is the case.  Your health and well-being is of paramount importance to us.”

 Update 19 October 2016

 

 7am Tuesday 18 October - 7am Thursday 20 October 2016 Essential services such as our emergency department, emergency surgery and maternity care continue as usual but unfortunately some of our non-urgent patient appointments and most of our elective surgery has had to be deferred because of the RMO strike.

All DHBs put quality and safety of patient care and their staff at the forefront and very much want to support their RMOs. DHBs have made an offer to improve the salaries of RMOs and reduce their hours. DHBs are very happy to agree to junior doctors working less days or nights in a row and are simply saying if junior doctors are not working 12 days, then they wouldn’t be paid for 12 days.  Auckland DHB employs 537 RMOs and 316 (59%) are NZRDA union members. Of these, four are on call to provide life preserving services (LPS) at our DHB as agreed with the union.  Our priority is focussing on our patients as you will appreciate, so at this time we are not able to provide details some people have asked for in relation to the number of our RMOs who are on strike and those who have continued to work given variances in shifts etc.

We would like to apologise again to all patients who have been affected by the RMO strike – we sincerely regret it has been necessary to defer any of you.  Approximately 119 surgeries have been deferred (265 are normally scheduled on a typical day), 442 outpatient appointments have been deferred and there has been no deferrals of other procedures, therapies and treatments.  

“We would like to thank all our medical staff who are working hard to cover striking colleagues and assure all our patients that we are here if you need us. Medical staff are available and we are providing all acute services.  If your condition is not urgent or severe please contact your GP in the first instance where possible,” says Auckland DHB Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Richard Sullivan.

“As with any other time, if you have an emergency please don’t hesitate to call 111.”

The strike ends 7am Thursday 20 October 2016.


 Earlier updates

Auckland DHB's Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers Dr Margaret Wilsher and Dr Richard Sullivan talk about the RMO strike

DHB Shared Services, representing the country’s 20 District Health Boards (DHBs), have been in bargaining discussions since January 2016 with the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) to renew the national collective agreement for Resident Medical Officers (RMOs).

 

All DHBs put quality and safety of patient care and their staff at the forefront and very much want to support their RMOs. DHBs listened and were concerned by RMOs saying they are fatigued and working long hours. As a result, DHBs have made an offer to reduce the hours and improve salaries.

 

DHBs have offered:

  • To review any roster causing concern to an individual RMO to find an acceptable solution.
  • To reduce the roster so RMOs work no more than 10 consecutive days, which many RMOs agree will reduce fatigue.
  • To stop rostering 7 nights in a row, instead making 5 nights the maximum.
  • To further increase RMO salaries.
  • Despite attempts to secure an agreement through further negotiation, the NZRDA has rejected the offer and has issued strike notices for the 48 hours between 7am Tuesday 18 October and 7am Thursday 20 October.

 

All DHB’s, including Auckland DHB, have contingency plans in place to ensure minimal disruption from the industrial action.

 

“We would like to assure all our patients that we are here if you need us. Other medical staff will be available and we will be providing all acute services. If however, your condition is not urgent or severe then we ask you to please contact your GP in the first instance,” says Auckland DHB Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Richard Sullivan.

 

“As with any other time, if you have an emergency please don’t hesitate to call 111.”

 

“As you will appreciate, it does mean we may need to reschedule some of our non-urgent patient appointments and most of our elective surgery. We sincerely regret that this is necessary and we apologise to affected patients. We will endeavour not to do this where possible so unless you are contacted by one of our team at Auckland DHB, you should come to your usual appointment as scheduled.”

 

 

 

Key facts

  • All DHBs put quality and safety of patient care and their staff at the forefront and very much want to support their RMOs. DHBs are concerned by RMOs saying they are fatigued and working long hours and will review any roster causing concern to an individual RMO to find an acceptable solution.
  • There are approximately 3,700 Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) working and training across 20 DHBs in NZ. Auckland DHB employs 537 RMOs and 59% are NZRDA union members.
  • DHB Shared Services have been bargaining with the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) since January 2016 to renew the national collective agreement (MECA). At 2.59pm Monday 3 October, Auckland DHB received notice from the NZRDA that RMOs would strike between 7am 18 October and 7am 20 October.

Media contacts

Auckland DHB is not bargaining directly with the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA). Please direct any questions to the DHB Shared Services Employment Relations Group:

Spokesperson

Julie Patterson - Chair - Employment Relations Group (lead CEO for DHB Workforce and Employment Relations Programme and CEO Whanganui DHB)

DHB Shared Services

+64 4 801 2430

For further information

Mick Prior - DHB Shared Services

Mick.Prior@dhbss.health.nz

027 691 4999

 

Frequently asked questions

Auckland DHB patient services

  • What happens to people who have follow-up appointments on the strike days – should they come for these?

Unless you are contacted by Auckland DHB, you should come to your appointment as scheduled.

  • Does this mean that Auckland DHB will cancel procedures and surgeries?

Some patients may need to be rescheduled. We will endeavour not to do this but it may be unavoidable in the circumstances.

  • Does this mean a procedure might be undertaken by someone ‘standing in’ and not qualified?

Never. If necessary, patient appointments will be rescheduled.

  • Does this mean that Auckland DHB will not provide its regional support services?

Auckland DHB provides some services to other Auckland region DHBs, including Waitemata DHB and Counties Manukau DHB. We will endeavour to accommodate all patients but it may be necessary to reschedule some appointments.

  • Presumably Auckland DHB can cope with a strike action for 1-2 days – what happens if it goes on longer than this?

The strike is for 48 hours only.

RMO pay and leave

  • Do RMOs who are members of the NZ Resident Doctors Association have to strike? 

No, individual RMOs who are members of the NZRDA can take the personal choice to strike or work their rostered shifts between 7am Tuesday 18 October and 7am Thursday 20 October 2016.

  • Do RMOs who go on strike get paid?

No.

  • Can RMOs take leave during the strike?

No. If leave has been already been booked then this will proceed as usual but any new requests will not be approved for notified strike days.

  • Who is eligible to strike?

    Resident Medical Officers who were members of the NZRDA  on the day the strike notice was sent.  RMOs who have joined the NZRDA after this time are not eligible to strike.

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