6 July 2017
Hawke’s Bay Hospital is at capacity, and unless it’s an emergency, people are urged to seek medical care from their family doctor, medical centre, pharmacy or to call Healthline.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Gommans said the hospital had been busy for a number of days with patients presenting with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. However, the onset of more influenza-like-illness and other winter virus presentations, as well as a number of staff or dependent family members also affected, had seen a knock-on effect to the hospital and steps were being made to cope with demand.
Dr Gommans said as a result, surgeries were being reshuffled and, in some cases, a small number of minor elective surgeries had been postponed until further notice.
Dr Gommans said winter viral illnesses had well and truly arrived in Hawke’s Bay and people starting to feel unwell were encouraged to seek early advice from their doctor, pharmacist or Healthline.
“Please remember that the Emergency Department is the place to go for life threatening, urgent treatment,” said Dr Gommans.
“People with minor injuries or illness, such as colds, can expect to wait for long periods to be seen as patients needing urgent care are always prioritised.
“Please also be tolerant of ED staff who put patient needs first and foremost with the most urgent cases always seen ahead of others.”
Dr Gommans also had an important message for visitors of patients.
“Please try and avoid visiting someone in hospital if you are feeling unwell. However, if this is unavoidable, make sure you use one of the hospital masks provided and sanitising gel on your hands.”
Mark Peterson Chief Medical Officer primary care and Napier GP said GPs were also extremely busy. However, he encouraged people to make an appointment with their family doctor before they got so sick that they needed hospital care. They could call Healthline 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24 hours a day.
Dr Peterson reminded people that it was not too late to get the flu vaccine if they hadn’t already done so to protect themselves or vulnerable people close to them.
“The flu vaccine is free for many people, and is especially important for pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses so they can protect themselves from the flu viruses circulating.”
For more information on where to find a family doctor and other health information people could check www.ourhealthhb.nz which provided health information specifically for Hawke’s Bay people.