2 Sep 2010

Auckland radiographers set to begin strike

11:38 pm on 2 September 2010

Auckland radiographers are set to strike for three days from Friday after last-minute talks with their district health board employers failed.

Five hours of talks between the radiographers and the DHBs over pay ended on Thursday evening and radiographers now seem certain to strike at Auckland City Hospital and Starship Children"s Hospital from 8am on Friday until early Monday.

Radiographers are also set to strike nationwide for 24 hours on Tuesday.

The DHBs say they cannot afford the claims being made by the radiographers' union, APEX, and are disappointed at its continued inability to understand the financial constraints.

For its part, APEX says its revised claim would cost a maximum of 0.3% more than the current total budget for radiographers, which is small compared to the budget to bail out finance companies.

The union is also accusing the DHBs of clinging to a fixed position, and delays.

Radiographers say they have agreed to a 1% pay rise followed by another 1% in October, but cannot agree with DHBs over other conditions such as backdating of pay and time in lieu for professional development.

Warning to expect long delays

Auckland health chiefs are warning parents and others involved in sports activities in the city this weekend that hospitals are full and there will be long waits at emergency departments for X-rays.

The strike will leave four non-union staff at each hospital to do X-rays and scans not covered by arrangements that enable striking staff to be called on in life- and limb-preserving situations.

Auckland DHB chief medical officer, Margaret Wilsher, says Auckland City Hospital is 90% full and Starship is overflowing.

Dr Wilsher says the DHB is worried about the impact of motorway closures this weekend, as well as children and adults needing attention for sports injuries.

The DHB is advising people to see their doctor or an accident and emergency clinic if possible, but to go to either hospital in more serious cases.

Sporting codes alerted

Sport Auckland has alerted sports codes that they will have to manage injuries well on the sideline this weekend and ensure that anyone who is injured sees their doctor.

Sport Auckland chief executive Daniel Gerrard says it has advised sporting clubs that they need to think about how to provide appropriate back-up.

Apart from a gymnastics championship, Mr Gerrard says it is not an especially busy weekend sportswise, but some leagues may need to consider postponing or cancelling fixtures if good sideline management is lacking.

The board says those with less serious injuries should see their doctor, but others should go to the emergency department, where there will be delays.