Redeployments supporting COVID pressures on health system

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is redeploying clinical and non-clinical staff into areas of need to support COVID-19 pressures in the community and hospital settings.

COVID-19 Senior Responsible Officer Chris McKenna said regional daily case numbers continue to show more than 1000 new cases a day with currently 6781 cases in the region, resulting in growing hospitalisations and workforce pressures within community health settings.

“We are expecting COVID cases in the community will continue to rise before we start to see a decline,” said Mrs McKenna.

“Redeploying staff is a key part of our COVID-19 preparedness planning model and is now very much in full swing as there are areas of high need as well as workforce implications due to staff being away from work and in isolation.”

There are 40 people currently in Hawke’s Bay Hospital with COVID-19, with four people requiring Intensive Care support. The mobilisation of COVID wards is working well and surveillance testing of asymptomatic inpatients on general wards is preventing outbreaks, as it has been designed to do.

With a significant number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and pressure in the Emergency Department, the DHB is redeploying clinical staff to cover rosters, as well as aged residential facilities, where required.  Redeployments or logistics support into primary care and welfare hubs is also occurring to support the regional COVID response.

“We have been preparing for this surge and are now in full operational mode to best manage through this next phase,” said Mrs McKenna.

Chief Operating Officer Chris Ash said there were impacts, as expected, across services and planned care which were being deferred or significantly reduced at this time.

Current impacts included non-urgent planned care services being deferred across all specialties, many outpatient appointments being rescheduled or shifted to virtual consultations, district nursing prioritising urgent care, and the nurse-led overnight clinic at City Medical, Napier, needing to temporarily close during the hours of 9pm and 8am.

“We are constantly working to minimise impacts where we can, but they are varied across the rohe and we thank people for their understanding while contingencies are put in place to manage patient and staff safety during this COVID surge phase.

“While Napier’s City Medical services will stay open until 9pm, the nurse-led overnight clinic (9pm and 8am) will temporarily close and be reviewed in a fortnight’s time.  This is because the clinic cannot be safely resourced at this time as all available ED resource is needed to cover the high volume of presentations into Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department,” he said.

Anyone living in Napier or Hastings district requiring immediate medical attention after 9pm should present to Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department or in an emergency always call 111.

Mr Ash said from today, the DHB would publish twice weekly updates on service impacts to its website and Facebook page.

Regional leaders and local media would also be kept well informed.



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