Community heeds DHB advice to Choose Well

Hawke’s Bay DHB is thanking people for heeding its advice during last week’s junior doctor’s strike by only presenting to Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department for emergencies only.

Resident Medical Officers (RMOs), or junior doctors, who are part of the New Zealand Resident Doctor Association, went on strike for five days from 8am Monday 29 April to 8am Saturday 4 May.  

Chief Executive Dr Kevin Snee said many fewer non-urgent cases presented to its Emergency Department during the strike period, with the majority of presentations being from people who genuinely needed emergency care. 

“The hospital had a very busy week medically and by people listening to our advice, it allowed our ED staff to concentrate on those people that really needed our care,” he said.  

“We continue to encourage people to Choose Well for non-urgent care by following our Choose Well tips which include free advice and after hours care options within the community.” 

Dr Snee said despite being incredibly busy, Hawke’s Bay Hospital coped well during the strike thanks to a dedicated team of senior clinical and administrative staff, who went above and beyond to ensure patients were well cared for.  

“Senior medical officers, senior nurses and duty managers played a hugely important role toward ensuring the timely care of patients. 

“Support by general practice and other health providers also meant pressure was kept off the hospital system as much as possible.” 

Dr Snee said contingency planning and administrative support was robust. He also wanted to thank patients and their families/caregivers for their understanding as staff worked extremely hard to give  people the care they needed.

Choose Well tips for non-urgent care:

  • Make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date.
  • If you are feeling unwell, see your general practice (medical centre) now before you get worse!
  • Call your local general practice after hours and you will automatically be transferred to a health clinic that is open.
  • Pharmacists can offer free health advice over the counter.
  • Call Healthline for free 24/7 on 0800 611 116 to speak with a registered nurse.
  • City Medical, in Napier, is open 24/7 for anyone needing medical care.
  • Call 111 in an emergency.

For a full list of where to find medical care, including after hours options in Hawke’s Bay, go to

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