Nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants covered by the NZNO MECA have announced their intention to take part in nationwide strike action on Wednesday, 9 June, between the hours of 11am and 7pm.
The strike involves a full withdrawal of labour and may include all staff who are NZNO members working at Palmerston North Hospital, Horowhenua Health Centre and other MidCentral DHB facilities.
MidCentral DHB Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Celina Eves said contingency planning for the strike was under way to ensure safe conditions for all patients, whānau and staff.
However, with fewer staff on the floor during the strike period, Ms Eves said the support of the whānau and friends of patients under the Mahi Tahi – Better Together programme would be hugely appreciated.
“We strongly encourage whānau, friends and support people of patients in hospital during the strike period to be with their loved one.”
Mahi Tahi was introduced in 2018 to allow people to become a Kaimanaaki (partners in care), where they can work with hospital staff to help with the care of a loved one. This care ranges from dressing, assisting with eating, providing company or simply helping them go for walks. They can visit any time and stay overnight if required.
“The Mahi Tahi programme further enables and encourages staff to include whānau as members of the patient care team. For patients who may be confused or disorientated, the ability to have whānau or familiar faces involved in the care provides comfort and support to people while they are in hospital and helps greatly with the transition out of hospital.”
MidCentral Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said the key priority during the strike period would be ensuring the safety of people and whānau using DHB services.
“All efforts will be made to minimise the impact on patients, but we have a duty of care to maintain the highest standards of safety at our facilities. This may result in some delays or postponments of treatment, and we do very much appreciate the understanding of the public during this time.”
Ms Cook urged people to remember that Palmerston North Hospital remained open for any urgent or acute care during the strike period.
“If you do require urgent care, then please dial 111 for an ambulance or make your way to the Palmerston North Hospital Emergency Department as soon as possible. We will be here to help.”
Other options for people who do not require emergency care include booking an appointment with their General Practice Team, visiting a community pharmacy, or seeking free medical advice through Healthline (phone 0800 healthline - 0800 611 116).
More information on the Mahi Tahi programme can be found on the MidCentral DHB website or by speaking to a staff member on an inpatient ward