24 Aug 2010

Counties-Manukau DHB prepares for radiographer strike

3:37 pm on 24 August 2010

People living in South Auckland are being told to see their family doctor regarding minor injuries or illnesses from Thursday, rather than going to Middlemore Hospital, the Manukau Surgery Centre or Manukau Super Clinic.

The advice comes from the Counties-Manukau District Health Board as it prepares for a four-day strike by its medical radiation technologists, or radiographers.

Sixty-five radiographers - who carry out X-rays, imaging and scans at public hospitals - told the DHB they willl strike from 7.30am on Thursday to the same time the following Monday, over pay.

About 1000 radiographers are to strike nationwide on 7 September.

The Counties-Manukau DHB says the strike this week will stretch it to the limit, and it is cancelling non-urgent surgery for the period.

It says people should see their family doctor if possible and get an X-ray privately if needed, which it will pay for.

Meanwhile, the DHB says its suspension of four radiographers was justified.

Their union, Association of Professionals and Executive Employees, has accused the health board of using bullying tactics.

But the board's general manager of medicine, Brad Healey, says it has simply had enough of industrial action, and DHBs cannot continue to pay people for work that isn't being performed.

The union says it would cancel the next strike if the district health boards returned to the negotiating table.