AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Oct. 2 (UPI) — More than 3,000 doctors in New Zealand will go on strike for 2 days this month to protest working conditions.
Negotiations between resident doctors and the country’s 10 District Health Boards have broken down after numerous attempts to reach a deal over working hours and days.
The doctors say fatigue is the top issue with many required to work seven 10-hour days in a row or 12-day runs of frequent 10- or up to 16-hour days with only two days off between the long working periods. The association is pushing for smaller working blocks and more time off between.
About 3,200 members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association now plan to walk off the job for 48 hours on Oct. 18, affecting service across the country.
“We’re doing this because we want to be able to treat our patients without making mistakes and treat them as they should be treated,” said association national secretary Deborah Powell. “So sorry there will be disruption to patients but we are doing this as much for them as for ourselves.”
The New Zealand Resident Doctors Association said after 10 months of fruitless negotiations, the strike was the only remaining alternative to create safer conditions for patients and doctors.