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Doctors strike symptom of health cuts

The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.

“District Health Boards simply do not have the money to ensure safe staffing for our health workforce. They are overstretched, overworked and fatigued from this Government’s $1.7 billion cut over the past six years.

“Our hard working health professionals have been covering National’s cuts by working longer hours with insufficient support, putting patients and themselves at risk.

“A recent survey by the junior doctors union, New Zealand Resident Doctors Association, found that over 1,000 doctors were so tired from working long hours they were worried a clinical mistake had been made to a patient.

“Nearly 300 doctors reported falling asleep at the wheel while driving home after working long hours.

“Tired of working strenuous hours, 3,200 doctors are asking to no longer work seven nights in a row and twelve days in a row. But eight district health boards are struggling to resolve this.

“We know that district health boards are not being funded to keep up with the costs of an aging population, inflation and wages. The Government has been forcing DHBs to cut costs: from holding vacancies amongst staff to cutting mental health care.

“This Government is increasingly arrogant and out of touch. If they won’t listen to one of New Zealand’s most trusted professions, who will they listen to?” says Dr Clark.