Health workers at 3 Auckland DHBs to strike for better public healthcare

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3000 health workers across all 3 Auckland DHBs will go on strike this week to protest against a plan by the DHBs to stretch new staff even further than current staff, who are at breaking point due to systemic underfunding and understaffing across Auckland’s hospitals.

The 3000 striking workers are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), the second biggest union in the health sector, and include people working in more than 40 different roles including physiotherapists, dieticians and laboratory technicians.

"Kiwis are missing out on quality care because the Government has cut $1.7b from public health," said PSA representative Andy Colwell, a DHB mental health worker.

"The DHBs plan to stretch their staff further in an attempt to provide seven days of services to patients, but we’re working past our limits just trying to cover five days right now.

"The DHBs know their changes are unfair so they are only proposing they apply to new staff, but we’re taking a stand for the future of our public health system and for patients.

"We are already missing breaks and working overtime, often for free, to try to protect our patients from the dangerous effects of the Government’s health cuts.

 "We’ve been trying to protect patients from the effects of underfunding because we care about our communities, but this has gone on too long, and now we’re asking the community to stand with us for quality public healthcare.

"It’s always very difficult decision for health workers to take strike action and we have been working with the DHBs to ensure there will be no disruption to life-preserving services," said Andy Colwell.