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New Zealand doctors stage strike

22nd June 2006

22062006_kiwi1.jpgJunior doctors in New Zealand stage a five-day strike to demand shorter working weeks, as the Royal New Zealand College of GPs warns of an impending crisis in rural health care.

A stalemate in talks over a junior doctors' contract in New Zealand has prompted an unprecedented five-day strike over working hours, and further work stoppages haven't been ruled out.
 
More than 2,000 junior doctors - house surgeons and trainee specialists - in New Zealand took part in the strike, which prompted public hospitals throughout the country to reduce their services to emergencies only. The dispute, which disrupted the care of an estimated non-emergency 7,000 patients in mid-June, focused on working hours.
 
Local reports said hospitals were preparing for a major backlog created by the stoppage, amid concerns that some patients may have made themselves sicker by staying away from emergency departments during the strike.
 
A spokeswoman for the Resident Doctors' Association, a union representing the doctors, said junior doctors frequently work 12 days straight on normal shifts and up to 10 consecutive nights on later shifts.

District Health Board National Coordinator of Contingency Planning Anne Aitcheson said hospitals were able to cope during the strike because many people with minor ailments stayed away, though some would have benefited from having their problems treated sooner.
 
Doctors' groups meanwhile complain that inadequate efforts have been made to draw young GPs into rural areas. In its third and final 2005 Membership Survey report, the Royal New Zealand College of GPs says it is getting harder to find and keep rural GPs. With one-third of the workforce planning on leaving in the next five years, the report says rural practices will suffer first and most.

 

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Comments

Anonymous

Friday 25th September 2009 @ 5:01

Socialized medicine is the best.. I can't wait to get it here in the US..

Pfft


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