More than 3000 junior doctors strike against longer working hours

More than 3000 junior doctors are striking across the country on Tuesday, protesting longer work hours and poor conditions.

The 48-hour strike, the second of three protests, was planned after doctors and District Health Boards (DHBs) across the country failed to reach a settlement on proposed new contracts last week.

Before the first strike on January 15, New Zealand Residents Doctors Association (RDA) president Dr Courtney Brown said doctors want to keep their current contracts, which limit how many days in a row they can work to ten.

"They will be able to roster us for 16-hour days, and over 10 days in a row. At the start of 2017, the DHB issued a contract saying we can only work 10 days in a row, and now they're trying to push it up to 12 days in a row."

Dr Brown also said junior doctors' current contracts allow them to have a say in where they work.

"If the District Health Board changes it then we can be sent anywhere, to any DHB, without a say," she said.

Earlier on Tuesday, resident medical officer Dr Sofie Rose told The AM Show that she couldn't see herself being able to work 12-day stretches while often working more than 15 hours a day.

"I don't think I'd cope if we went back to 12, which I think is essentially what is being proposed," she said.

More than 3000 junior doctors strike against longer working hours
Photo credit: Newshub

Dr Christina Van der Bore was protesting outside of Auckland City Hospital on Tuesday and told Newshub the strikes were the doctors' last resort.

"It is a really tough decision and a personal decision - it is tough for us because we feel like we are letting down out patients, but there really is no other choice," she said.

"This is really our last resort, and none of us take it lightly."

Outside of the hospital, a number of signs were hung to a fence calling for a fair deal from DHBs, while others warned of "tired docs ahead".

A third strike notice has been issue for February 12 and 13, but the RDA says it will take every realistic opportunity to resolve the dispute.