Tomorrow around 250 striking radiographers at seven district health boards (DHBs) who ten days ago walked off their jobs, return to work with their dispute over pay parity still unresolved.
Anne Aitcheson, national co-ordinator of contingency planning for the DHBs, said that she expected things would be back to normal at affected hospitals.
She said, "All the surgery is booked and all the outpatient appointments are booked and we will be back to normal."
However, she said that it would take some weeks to get rid of the backlog of elective services.
Radiographers did provide essential services during the strike. Some patients were sent to private providers and delayed elective surgery and outpatient appointments.
The radiographers are investigating cases where they believe they were called in to work to provide non-essential services, in breach of the agreement they have with their health board bosses.
The radiographers have agreed to return following DHBs settling a dispute with junior doctors this week. The doctors are to receive a 5.8 per cent hike in pay, in an agreement estimated to cost DHBs $10 million over 18 months.
However another disruption of services is anticipated when more than 1200 medical laboratory workers go on strike for a week from November 29.
The labs involved are the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS), DHBs nationwide, Wellington Pathology, Tairawhiti in Gisborne, Medlab South and Southern Community Laboratories.
DHBs and the NZBS still intend to to increase medical laboratory workers' salaries by 1.5 per cent for year one and 2.5 per cent in the second year for five months.
Radiographers initiated the strike on November 10, walking off their jobs. Southland, Lakes (Rotorua),Otago, Hutt Valley, and Bay of Plenty were affected for ten days, while Canterbury was affected for nine days and Tairawhiti for five days.
The radiographers are seeking parity in pay and conditions with about 1000 colleagues from the Waitemata, Wanganui, Nelson-Marlborough, Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Capital and Coast, Hawke's Bay and MidCentral health boards.