Resident Doctors announce a five day strike for late April

Resident Doctors announce a five day strike for late April
Photo credit: Newshub.

Junior doctors have announced they'll go on a record five-day strike starting April 29th.

The New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association (NZRDA) says members will walk off the job from April 29. 

It'll be the eight time they've gone on strike this year, and the longest. 

Previous strikes were only 48 hours, but the District Health Boards (DHBS) have remained unmoved.

There was a strike scheduled for mid-April, but this was postponed out of respect for the victims of the Christchurch massacre.

"Unfortunately, any opportunity that the gap between the last strike and this one might have afforded to the DHBS to rethink their provocative bargaining has not been taken up," read a statement from the NZRDA on Friday.

"Our members have asked us to escalate the pressure on DHBS," said senior advocate for NZRDA David Munro.

Although the strike is 5 working days, the weekend either side will bring the strike to a total of nine days.

"I think it is the largest strike of doctors across the country that New Zealand has ever seen," Munroe told Newshub.

"And that shows how serious it is." 

The strike impact will be "dramatic" according to Munro.

Between 2,500 and 3,000 doctors will be covered by the strike action.

"It will have a dramatic impact. Clinic selectors will have to be cancelled, and will back up. The life preserving services required under the legislation will ensure no one will be in any danger; people won't die or become disabled," he said.

"But any elective surgeries, day clinics etcetera, will be cancelled."

The strike will exclude Canterbury in the wake of the Christchurch attack. 

"Canterbury is not part of that, so that's 400 odd members. Canterbury will not be participating as the health system is still under pressure from the March 15 shooting," Munro told Newshub.

Eleven survivors remain in hospitals in the city. 

NZRDA vice-president Kathryn Foster told The AM Show late last year they don't get a lot of breaks, and sometimes have to work 16-hour shifts up to 12 days in a row.

They're also angry about proposed new contracts. 

"We want the DHBS to remove the claw-backs. This is not about money. It's about protecting provisions that have been there for many years to protect a vulnerable workforce," said Munro.

"It's about rostering and decision making."

They want DHBS to remove the "clawbacks" made to resident doctor's terms and conditions of employment.

He says doctors are not happy they have to strike, but feel it is necessary.

"They're feeling pretty gutted. They didn't become doctors to go on strikes. They became doctors to help people."