Doctors to strike next week over dangerous working conditions

Resident doctors across New Zealand will strike next week in a move the union says is needed to prevent doctors being exposed to dangerous working conditions. 

The Resident Doctors' Association has been trying to reach an agreement with district health boards (DHBs) for nearly a year but on Thursday, mediation between the two groups failed. 

The strike will go ahead from next Tuesday and will last 48 hours - but that's not all.  The union says it's already considering a second strike.  

The union says its hand has been forced and it has to strike as the health boards won't budge on an agreement that removes current protections.

The main sticking point is the DHBs want to change the resident doctors' contracts so they can work for more than 16 hours without union approval. 

The good thing for patients is health boards are used to coping with strikes like this. DHBs have known about this in advance and have been making contingency plans.

Health boards have said they will be prioritising essential services during the strike period meaning some outpatient appointments and non-urgent surgeries are being rescheduled.