Doctors reject DHB's $200 an hour offer

  • 14/01/2017
Waikato Hospital in Hamilton (Dan Satherley/Newshub.)
Waikato Hospital in Hamilton (Dan Satherley/Newshub.)

The Waikato District Health Board is being accused of missing the point by offering resident doctors money to break their strike.

Industrial action will take place from Tuesday for 72 hours following a dispute over working conditions that started in 2015.

New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) spokesperson Deborah Powell says the DHB is desperate.

"It's costing district health boards to have these strikes just in terms of paying staff, let alone the cost to service delivery disruption," she told Newshub.

"To now offer even more money to residents to break the strike, quite frankly the district health boards have got the wrong focus."

She says for the doctors, it's not about money - it's about safer rosters.

"It would be better if the district health boards settled this dispute so we didn't have to go through all of this stuff."

Waikato DHB said the $200 figure quoted by the union was an "outlier" and not typical.

"The specific rates vary and are considered cost-effective for the specific circumstances," Waikato DHB representative Greg Peploe said on Friday.

The NZRDA has been in negotiations with all the country's DHBs since 2015. A survey of its members last year showed nearly 300 had fallen asleep at the wheel after working 16-hour shifts, often 12 days in a row.

The NZRDA is calling for the number of consecutive 10-hour night shifts to be reduced from seven to four, and the number of consecutive day shifts to be reduced from 12 to 10.

A Waikato doctor put on leave last month after verbally abusing a patient was said to be suffering from a fatigue-induced mental break.

The upcoming strike has seen 500 patient appointments postponed.