Junior doctor's second strike to kick off

  • 16/01/2017

A second strike by junior doctors is set to get underway tomorrow morning.

The first strike lasted 48 hours and took place last October, but negotiations over an ongoing roster and pay dispute have failed to reach a settlement.

The second strike starts at 7am on Tuesday and will last 73 hours.

Of the country's 20 DHBs, junior doctors from 18 of them will be taking part. Taranaki and West Coast DHBs won't be affected due to insufficient support for the strike action.

The strike is about safer hours, with junior doctors saying they're being overworked, but DHBs say they've met their demands and are calling the strike action "hollow and futile".

"All those health and safety claims that they've put around working more than 10 days, not working more than four nights in a row, we have met all of that," says DHB spokesperson Julie Patterson.

But the union says although they're nearing a settlement, they're not there yet.

"[The proposed deal of] no more than nine consecutive days could mean nine days of work and one day off, then another nine days of work," says Dr Deborah Powell, from the NZ Resident Doctors' Association.

"Actually how it's going to work is as important as those particular rules, and that's what we've been trying to organise."

DHBs have postponed patient appointments to deal with the disruptions, reducing workloads so they can focus on emergency care.

Waikato DHB alone has deferred 500 appointments and Bay of Plenty DHB has rescheduled 350.

It may be a pain for patients, but junior doctors are standing their ground.

The strike is due to end 8am on Friday.