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Canterbury and West Coast DHBs preparing for planned PSA strike

Monday 9 May 2022Health news3 minutes to read

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs are preparing for further planned industrial action by the Public Service Association. The nationwide action involves a full withdrawal of labour for 24 hours from 11.59pm on Sunday 15 May to 11.59pm on Monday 16 May.

This is in addition to the ongoing ‘work to rule’ period between Monday 9 May and Friday 20 May, where staff members of the PSA are instructed by their union:

  • not to work before agreed paid start times
  • not to work after agreed paid start times
  • to stop work to take all the breaks they are entitled to.

In Canterbury 39 professions and over 1500 Public Health, Scientific and Technical staff will be affected by the PSA strike. On the West Coast, 23 professions and more than 120 staff members of PSA union are affected.

Our therapeutic, rehabilitation, laboratory, occupational therapy and diagnostic services as well as other clinical support services and Hauora Māori will be severely impacted during the time of the strike.

However, the industrial action won’t affect COVID-19 testing services and it is really important people who need to get tested on the day of the strike make sure they still do. Likewise, vaccination sites will still be providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs Chief Executive, Dr Peter Bramley, says if this industrial action goes ahead as planned it will cause significant disruption to health services across the two DHBs, particularly to lab results which will be delayed as they catch up with the backlog.

“Services such as the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital have warned that there will be delays during the period of the strike,” says Peter.

The 24-hour strike will generally affect patient flow, in particular some discharges back to community where physio, social work, occupational therapy and dietitians are often involved.

Where it is appropriate and safe to do so we will discharge patients home ahead of the strike to reduce the pressure on those staff who are working.

A large number of outpatient clinics, community clinics, elective surgery and procedures are likely to have to be deferred on Monday. People will be re-booked to the next available time. If they are not contacted, they can expect their procedure or appointment to go ahead as normal.

“While community collection centres will be open in Canterbury for blood tests, all community collection centres will be closed on the West Coast. Hospital laboratory staff will only be processing urgent inpatient blood tests,” says Peter.

Some of the professions affected in Canterbury and the West Coast are:

  • Anaesthetic Technicians
  • Audiologists
  • Biomedical Technicians
  • Clinical engineering
  • Dental Therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Health Protection Officers
  • Hospital play specialists
  • Kaiāwhina (Allied Health Assistants)
  • Laboratory staff
  • Māori Health staff
  • Newborn Hearing Screeners
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthoptists and Optometrists 
  • Pharmacists and Technicians and pharmacy assistants
  • Phlebotomists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Play Specialists
  • Podiatrists 
  • Psychologists
  • Radiology assistants
  • Social Workers
  • Speech-language Therapists
  • Sterile Services staff
  • Technicians (e.g. Neurophysiology, Hyperbaric)

“We respect the right of staff to take industrial action and acknowledge the important role that health workers play in delivering high quality care.

“Our priority, as always, is the safety of patients and we want to reassure our community that you will still receive emergency and urgent care during the strike,” says Peter.

ENDS

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Page last updated: 9 May 2022

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