About 480 staff will be provided for “life-preserving” services at Christchurch Hospital while nurses strike.
For the first time in 30 years, New Zealand Nurses Organisation nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants will strike from 7am Thursday until 7am Friday.
The Canterbury District Health Board has started postponing and rescheduling about 800 outpatient appointments and about 150 surgeries.
Patients whose appointments and procedures are being postponed will be contacted directly by phone by CDHB staff.
NZNO organiser Christin Watson said staff will be provided for ‘life-preserving’ services.
Striking staff will rally outside Christchurch and Burwood hospitals and on Lincoln Rd near the Annex Rd corner, which is close to Hillmorton Hospital.
Staff from Princess Margaret, Ashburton hospitals and other outlying areas in Canterbury are meeting between 10am and 10.30am on Thursday morning at South Hagley Park, opposite Christchurch Hospital.
Speeches and a march through the park towards Riccarton Rd would follow.
Mr Watson said the “overwhelming support” from the public had been encouraging.
“Most people are related to a nurse or know someone who is a nurse, and knows how hard they work,” he said.
Canterbury DHB chief executive David Meates said having to defer specialist appointments and surgery was regretful.
“We appreciate how disruptive this is to those affected. Please be assured our staff are trying to rebook patients as quickly as possible.”
Some urgent surgery, such as cancer surgery will go ahead, said a CDHB spokeswoman.
However, most complex surgeries that were scheduled to occur before the strike are being postponed to reduce the number of people in hospitals during the strike period.
All hospitals and health centres in Canterbury will remain open and continue to provide essential and urgent services including emergency departments, acute surgery, intensive care, cancer treatments, maternity services and renal dialysis.
Wards will remain open but with reduced capacity.
Those needing health care advice should contact their general practice in the first instance, said a CDHB spokeswoman.
“Phone your usual GP team after-hours for free health advice. If they are closed, calls will be put through to a nurse who can advise on what to do and where to go if it’s urgent and you need to be seen by a doctor.”
In an emergency, phone 111.
- Patients needing to check on their appointment should call the number on their appointment letters.
- If people can’t find their appointment letter, they can call 03 364 0640 and ask to be put through to the appropriate department.