Junior doctors’ strike

Junior doctors in hospitals will strike for 48 hours starting on October 18th. They will stop work from 7am on the morning of October 18th and start again at 7am on the 20th.

Junior doctors are officially called RMOs, Resident Medical Officers. They work for one of New Zealand’s 20 DHBs, District Health Boards. They are qualified doctors who work in hospitals for a few years after they graduate to gain experience. Their complaint is that they are expected to work extremely long hours, they get very tired and make mistakes. Some of them said they fell asleep while driving home after work. At the moment, the roster is for 12 hours a day for 12 days then 2 days off, or they work 7 nights in a row. They want this roster to reduce to 10 days in a row and 4 nights in a row.

3,200 RMOs will strike for those 2 days. Specialist doctors will work longer hours during the strike to deal with emergencies but non-urgent medical problems will have to wait.

RMOs have been negotiating their hours of work with the DHBs since January this year but no agreement has been reached. If they work shorter hours for the same pay, this will cost DHBs many millions of tax payer money.


• strike (n, v) – refuse to work
• qualified (adj) – they have graduated, they are trained doctors
• complaint (n) – the problem they do not like
• roster (n, v) – days and hours of work, schedule of work
• non-urgent (adj) – not an emergency
• negotiate (v) – to bargain