The Bay of Plenty District Health Board says services at Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals will be reduced to a minimum for the nurses’ strike on Thursday (12 July).

The news comes as NZNO (nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants’ union) members today voted to reject a revised offer from the DHBs and proceed with industrial action (representing a full withdrawal of labour). The strike notice issued by NZNO covers a 24-hour period from 7am on 12 July to 7am on Friday 13 July.

BOPDHB Chief Executive Helen Mason says services at its two hospitals will be reduced accordingly.

“Emergency and essential services will be maintained during the strike,” said Mrs Mason, “All services which can be deferred will be and some, such as outpatient clinics, will be closed.

“Our number one consideration will be patient and staff safety,” she added.

Mrs Mason said contingency planning for the proposed strike had been ongoing for the last three months. Those plans were now being implemented and some services, such as elective (planned) surgery, had been rescheduled to reduce patient numbers. Patients affected by the strikes should have been contacted and given details of what the changes mean for them.

For more information on appointments, patients can also call the BOPDHB freephone Patient Information Centre number 0800 333 477. This line is available from 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

On the day of the strike, people should not delay seeking medical treatment, and should still go to hospital if the matter is urgent. Dial 111 for emergencies or an ambulance.

For all other matters people should visit their GP or a local pharmacy. Free medical advice is also available 24/7 through Healthline (phone 0800 Healthline – 0800 611 116).

For a list of which services will remain open, which will be reduced and which will be closed go to www.bopdhb.govt.nz