Canterbury pharmacists go on strike

Nearly 100 pharmacy workers begin four days of strike action at Canterbury hospitals on Thursday morning. 

Their union APEX says nearly a year after their collective agreement expired, there is still no formal offer.

Advocate Denise Tairua says the strike is a sign of the frustration.

"The value of their wages has obviously decreased, the cost of living is increasing, and that's not being met."

The action affects four hospitals and will last four days.

Tairua says pharmacists won't be available to review medications for those in hospital.

"Wards will be carrying supplies of medication over the period, and I believe the DHB has done contingency planning. Patients' safety should not be impacted."

The Canterbury DHB says no treatment will be deferred as a result of the strike, and there'll be enough staff to provide safe care. But it's telling staff to be extra vigilant with medications. 

"Patients and carers are also being reminded to bring their medicines with them when they come to hospital and to talk to staff about their medicines," chief people officer Michael Frampton told Stuff.

Tairua says there's still no formal offer on the table. Their last collective agreement expired on August 31, 2018.

"We did originally issue strike action back in March, but obviously with the events of March 15, we did withdraw that strike action."

Canterbury DHB says safe care will be ensured.