Hospital demand high – some planned care deferred

High admission rates from emergency department (ED) presentations at the weekend coupled with staffing challenges have forced Hawke’s Bay Hospital to defer some planned (elective) surgeries today.

Te Whatu Ora Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay’s Chief Medical and Dental Officer Dr Robin Whyman said deferring planned care was never an easy decision, but was required to ensure patient and staff safety.

“Our hospital has been incredibly busy with staff working above and beyond during these unprecedented times.  Demands on the system haven’t let up over the weekend.

“This past weekend, particularly Sunday, has seen a range of patients presenting with frailty and complex needs that have required hospital-level care. As a result, some planned surgeries are needing to be deferred today and possibly into this week to ease pressure on the hospital system.

“We apologise in advance to those affected by these changes. Anyone whose surgery has to be deferred will be contacted by phone.  If you haven’t been contacted by us, please assume your surgery is going ahead.”

Dr Whyman said Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s emergency department was very busy again today.  Presentations were not linked to any one reason such as COVID or influenza, but reflected a high level of demand for health care within the community.

“We are seeing a range of medical presentations and some very unwell patients.

“People with non-emergency conditions are therefore likely to experience a long wait to be seen in ED as those with the greatest need and life-threatening conditions are seen first.”

Dr Whyman said it was important people sought medical advice early if they were concerned about their health, even if they had been seen before.

“If it’s not an emergency, people are encouraged to see their GP or call Healthline on 0800-611-116 for health advice.

Dr Whyman said he understood primary care colleagues were also experiencing heavy demand and that walk-in centres were also busy at the weekend and into Monday morning.


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