Nurses reassure public ahead of Thursday's strike

Nurses are reassuring the public that life-preserving services will be unaffected by their planned 24-hour strike.

But there will still be a significant impact for thousands of patients across the country.

Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland is one of many around the country preparing for the strike. It wants family members to help out if they can.

"We would like family members to check in with the charge nurse or the nurse leader on the ward today or over the next couple of days to understand what might be helpful, and how they may be able to assist."

Although nurses will be on-hand for emergency care, District Health Boards (DHBs) have been forced to cancel all non-urgent and elective procedures for the duration of the strike. Outpatient clinics and services have also been reduced or stopped.

DHB spokesperson Helen Mason says the strike's impact will be "significant".

"Nurses are the cornerstone of the health system, and about 70 percent of our workforce won't be in the workplace."

Hospital services will be operating at a reduced capacity for 24 hours from 7am on Thursday.

Some 30,000 Nurses' Organisation members will be involved, and once the disruption is over, up to 8000 elective surgeries will have been deferred.

But NZNO CEO Memo Musa says thousands of nurses will still be on the job during the strike.

"Yes it's unprecedented, but our commitment is to ensure that we'll have life-preserving services and emergency management protocols in place."

Hospitals are already under pressure at this time of year, and even though last week's strike was called off, it still caused significant disruption.

Officials say anyone who needs emergency help on Thursday should still dial 111 and head to hospital if required.