Elective surgery shutdown begins Monday

Published: Mon 27 Nov 2006 08:17 AM
Elective surgery shutdown begins Monday
More than 2,000 patients will get phone calls tomorrow cancelling their elective surgery as hospitals around the country start preparing for the laboratory workers’ 7-day strike beginning on Wednesday, says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.
The strike will shut down all elective surgery in all public hospitals, and affect laboratory services and blood services. Negotiators meet tomorrow, but National understands neither side is hopeful of any resolution.
"This strike will be much worse than the junior doctors' strike, when senior doctors were able to step into the breach.
"A lot of elective surgery on Tuesday, the day before the strike, will also be cancelled because follow-up care may require blood or laboratory testing outside the life-preserving criteria agreed to with the union.
"Hospital doctors are also worried that elective surgery after the strike will also be affected if national blood stocks fall below safe levels, because those staff who take blood will be on strike and not replenishing stocks.
"Health Minister Pete Hodgson's divisive approach to industrial relations is costing thousands of patients elective surgery. We've never seen as much industrial action in hospitals as we have this year. The senior doctors’ negotiations are also heading to mediation amid claims and counter-claims of bad faith.
"For many New Zealanders, answering the phone tomorrow means many more weeks of pain and suffering as their specialists try to slot them back onto the waiting list.
“They can blame a tired and arrogant Labour Government for that" says Mr Ryall.

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