18 Oct 2010

Auckland hospitals 'coping' with strain of strike

3:31 pm on 18 October 2010

Auckland hospitals say they are coping with the strain as laboratory workers strike over a long-running pay dispute.

Members of the Medical Laboratory Workers Union began a full two-day strike at midnight on Sunday night.

Auckland City Hospital, Starship Children's Hospital and the Greenlane Clinical Centre are all feeling the effects of the strike but the district health board's chief medical officer, Dr Margaret Wilsher, says so far they haven't had to cancel any elective surgery.

There are some delays, though, she says, as the turnaround time for test results is slower.

Dr Wilsher says only a third of the laboratory staff are striking; the remaining staff are picking up the extra workload.

The strike will extend to Counties Manukau DHB on Tuesday and Wednesday, affecting services at Middlemore Hospital.

The strike began at midnight and will last two days. The union says 350 members altogether are involved, 136 of them in the Auckland DHB's area.