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Some St John staff taking industrial action from 6am 25 November for 24 hours, and again from 6am 28 November also for 24 hours

The Bay of Plenty DHB has been notified by St John that they have received notification that one of their three unions’ members, will be withdrawing labour from 6am on 25 November until 6am on 26 November and then for a second period from 6am on 28 November until 6am on 29 November. Two periods of 24 hours.

The members of the union involved, are 40% of paid ambulance personnel nationally, and this action involves the full withdrawal of labour by members working in our Clinical Support, Ambulance Communications, Emergency Ambulance, Patient Transfer Services and Event Medical Services.

St John say the impact will be most noticeable in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Canterbury, and they have put plans in place, including rostering other ambulance staff to cover the strike action and undertaking additional clinical triage in the Ambulance Communications Centre. St John anticipates this will mitigate much of the anticipated impact, however they will still need support to reduce demand on services through these periods.

Points for BOPDHB staff to note:

  • Please try to ensure all suitable rest home transfers are done the day prior to the strike action
  • Not to book any appointments for services such as eye clinics, dental or bariatric MRI on the actual day of the strikes


St John has shared their advice for the most impacted stakeholders.

Public Safety Messages
Public safety messages will be provided through mainstream print and broadcast media, social media and directly to St John customers at high risk, including the following key messages.

Some ambulance staff will be on strike from:

  • 6am Wednesday 25 November until 6am Thursday 26 November (24 hours)
  • 6am Saturday 28 November until 6am Sunday 29 November (24 hours)

During this time:

  • Please only call 111 for an ambulance if it is a medical emergency

o    Examples of medical emergencies include chest pain, shortness of breath and major accidents.

o    Examples of non-life-threatening problems include minor abdominal pain, strains and sprains and earache.      

  • St John continues to be there for you in a life-threatening emergency
  • In non-life threatening cases, you may be called back by a paramedic or nurse who will ask you some additional questions and determine the best care for you. This may include health advice or referral to another health provider (such as a GP). If you require an ambulance, there may be delays in us getting to you.

Other messaging:

  • The main areas affected are Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury
  • In some cases, we may send a paramedic in a car to assess you, before determining whether ambulance transport is required. 

 

DHB Emergency Departments
Due to the strike action, we will have less ambulance resources, and staff will be asked to minimise time at emergency departments where possible. We would appreciate any assistance you are able to provide. We will be placing hospital liaison officers at some hospitals to assist staff who may be unfamiliar with the area, and to help restock vehicles.

Patient Transfer Services (Northland, Auckland and Midland only)
During to the strike action, St John will focus our limited PTS resources on urgent and emergency inter-hospital transfers, and there may be some delays in undertaking routine transfers. We would appreciate your assistance in multi-loading patients where safe and appropriate and holding non-urgent transfers until the next day where possible.

Primary care
Please have a higher than usual threshold for requesting an ambulance response to your medical facility, ensuring that prior to calling an ambulance:

  • It is clear that the patient requires transport to hospital by ambulance and that other forms of transport (for example, transport by taxi or a family member) have been considered. 
  • If an ambulance response is required, the person requesting the ambulance has all of the required information (for example, patient name, NHI and provisional diagnosis) and uses the health professionals’ line on 0800 262 665 (not 111) to enable the call to be triaged by a clinician.

Please appreciate that due to the industrial action, there is likely to be delays in St John being able to respond an ambulance if the patient’s condition is not immediately life-threatening.

Aged care
Please have a higher than usual threshold for requesting an ambulance response to your aged care facility, ensuring that prior to calling an ambulance:

  • It is clear that the patient requires transport to hospital by ambulance.
  • If the patient has a non-urgent clinical problem, all efforts are made by aged care facility staff to liaise with clinicians in primary care (for example, an on-call GP and local DHB/PHO services such as catheter nurses or district nurses) and for the patient to be clinically managed within the aged care facility if possible.
  • If an ambulance response is required, the staff member requesting the ambulance has all of the required information (for example, patient name, NHI and provisional diagnosis) and uses the health professionals’ line on 0800 262 665 (not 111) to enable the call to be triaged by a clinician.

Please appreciate that due to the industrial action, there is likely to be delays in St John being able to respond an ambulance to aged care facilities if the patient’s condition is not immediately life-threatening.

We will continue to provide updates as new information is available. Please let me know if you need anything in the meantime.

Ngā mihi nui

Bronwyn Anstis
Acting Chief Operating Officer

 


Last updated : Monday, November 23, 2020

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