Hospitals coping with strike

Some of the striking action in Tauranga. Photo: Sharnae Hope

With the first eight hours of the 24 hour nurses strike over, the situation at Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals is under control.

Lakes DHB Incident Controller for emergency management at Lakes DHB Gary Lees says while services are running reasonably smoothly, there is little capacity to deal with any unexpected issues.

He says many staff with a clinical background who usually hold non-clinical roles are on the wards today, with a lot of volunteers to help with simple tasks and administrative duties.

Lakes DHB has a full roster of Life Preserving Services responders.  Only members of the NZNO who are on the roster as Life Preserving Services responders are on the site, along with union members who have chosen to come to work.

Gary Lees says the DHB is very grateful for all the help which has been offered, which has meant the hospitals are coping so far with the nurses’ strike.

The 24 hour strike will finish at 7am tomorrow morning.

“Everything is geared towards ensuring the safety of our patients and the smooth continuation of essential clinical services during the 24 hour strike. All staff are working to ensure anyone who needs urgent hospital treatment will get it. Services may take a little longer, but care will still be provided, and patient safety is a priority,” says Gary Lees.

Patient numbers and the level of sickness amongst patients is quite high as is typical for this time of year.  Gary Lees says there is limited capacity to admit patients for acute events as long as the numbers are not too high.

The hospitals are operating as they would at the weekend or on a public holiday, and the doors to the inpatient areas will only be opened in line with visiting hours, 11am to 1.30pm and then 4pm-8pm. 

Family members acting as official support members for their loved one in hospital have access, as do visitors to maternity and children in hospital, but there is a procedure in place to enable access where it is needed.

These security measures are all part of ensuring the hospitals run as smoothly as possible, protecting the health and safety of both patients and those staff working today.

Dialysis patients are receiving treatment today at Rotorua.  Chemotherapy patients have been moved to other days of the week unless it is essential for treatments to occur today.

All elective surgery and outpatient clinics have been postponed for today.  The only clinics operating will be for urgent antenatal presentations and urgent fracture patients. 

Emergency Departments at Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals are open for emergencies.  Please do not come to the ED if you have a minor health issue –visit your family doctor/ community emergency clinics, or contact the telephone health service, Healthline 0800 611 116.


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