SACRAMENTO — Facing a possible two-day strike next week by patient care and technical workers, the five large University of California medical centers are starting to cancel elective surgeries that had been scheduled as soon as Monday, officials said.
Emergency care will not be shut and patients already in the five hospitals across the state will continue to receive care. But many elective procedures will delayed until after the potential strike, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, according to John Stobo, UC's senior vice president for health sciences and services. Patients are being notified about the surgery delays at the hospitals in San Diego, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Davis, he said.
The union representing the 13,000 nursing assistants, scanning techs, operating room scrubs, respiratory experts and others threatening the strike said it will keep weekend-level staffing in critical areas such as respiratory therapy for intensive care, neonatal and burn units during a walkout.
In case of medical emergencies, some strikers will go back to work and then return to picket lines after the patients are treated, said Todd Stenhouse, spokesman for Local 3299 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "The most important thing here is that patient safety be preserved," he said.