Avoid a trip to the Emergency Department these school holidays

5 July 2019

Please avoid our Emergency Departments (ED) with non-urgent health issues over the school holidays. That’s the plea from ED Clinical Nurse Manager, Therese Manning, who says Taranaki Base and Hawera Hospital ED’s are busy enough with acute medical conditions to attend to.

“We’re really urging people, particularly families on school holidays, not to come into ED unless it’s urgent. We are extremely busy treating people with serious and urgent medical issues, like heart attacks, strokes, influenza, respiratory problems and people involved in accidents with severe injuries.

“Winter is serving up its fair share of ills and chills, but we’re asking people to take the time to look after their health over the school holidays and avoid a trip to ED.

“There are lots of easy ways people can take care of their health, including being immunised, eating healthy, washing hands thoroughly, and stocking up on regular medication like asthma inhalers. Now is also a good time for smokers to consider quitting as it would certainly help with winter bugs. And if you’re unwell stay at home or see your doctor early to avoid things getting worse,” says Mrs Manning.

People with non-urgent health concerns are advised to visit their GP, local pharmacist, or Medi-Cross and Phoenix which both have x-ray services and a doctor available 24/7.

Mrs Manning explains “By non-urgent, we mean coughs, colds, ear ache, strains, sprains and cuts. Basically, a range of injuries and symptoms that would be better managed by non-urgent services, allowing our ED doctors and nurses to focus on emergencies.”

People are reminded that children 14 and under are free at the doctors, and pharmacies can treat a wide range of infections and in some cases can administer antibiotics.

“Of course it is very important that people experiencing a genuine emergency call 111 for an ambulance or go to ED. But if everyone else could save ED for emergencies these school holiday’s that would be appreciated,” says Mrs Manning.

Taranaki DHB recommends the following options before you make the trip to ED:

  • Call Healthline (0800 611 116). It’s a 24-hour service and registered nurses will address the symptoms, recommend a care plan and help to reassure worried parents.
  • Visit your pharmacy or a physiotherapist for advice.
  • Book an appointment with your GP. Children under 14 are free and there are low cost options for community service card holders and adults who are registered with Very Low Cost Access (VLAC) GPs in New Plymouth, Stratford, Opunake, Hawera and Patea. For more information please visit www.pinnacle.co.nz/practices.
  • If your GP is busy, away or it’s the weekend you can visit MediCross or Phoenix during opening hours in New Plymouth. They also have a doctor available 24/7 (charges apply).
  • Medicross and Phoenix offer x-ray services and can treat broken bones (charges apply).


For more information please call:

Cressida Gates-Thompson
Communications Advisor



Last updated: Friday, July 5, 2019

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