05 May 2008

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) today expressed deep concern over the continuing industrial impasse between the District Health Boards (DHBs) and the Resident Doctors Association, which has led to the second round of strikes planned for the next two days.

"We are alarmed that the junior doctor situation is continuing without any sign of a resolution. This is causing major problems for our patients who are in many cases not getting care when they need it, but also for doctors and other health practitioners throughout the health system as they struggle to cope with the effects of the strike. There are substantial and urgent issues facing the junior doctor workforce who represent the future of medicine, and we must find ways to support them, and retain them in the training system and in New Zealand. However it is starkly clear that the current environment with its highly confrontational relationships is not producing a solution".

"We desperately need a change of approach," said Dr Foley. "In the interests of the health of New Zealanders, the Government must intervene. It needs to do this in two ways. Firstly it must exercise leadership and use its influence to assist both parties in resolving the current dispute, and in doing so it must recognise the immediate issues facing the junior doctor workforce. Then it must work with the medical profession in a more strategic way to find policy-based solutions to the major workforce issues facing junior doctors and indeed the whole of the profession. It is time for leadership and action."