Hospital ED experiencing its own emergency

21 April 2022

Taranaki DHB is asking the public to save the Emergency Departments (ED) at Taranaki Base and Hāwera Hospital for Emergencies like accidents, serious pain and trauma this long weekend.

When people with non-urgent health issues use another service, it frees hospital ED staff up to deal with patients in an emergency who need serious and more urgent medical help, says Therese Manning, Clinical Nurse Manager at Base Hospital ED.

“The public can help by visiting other health services for non-urgent health issues like soft tissue injuries, sprained ankles, stubbed toes, common coughs and colds, earache and renewal of prescriptions. These types of injuries and symptoms would be better managed with a call to 0800Healthline, a visit to your GP, Medicross, Phoenix Urgent Doctors or a quick trip to the pharmacy to get checked out.”

Over the Easter long weekend, the Emergency Departments were overwhelmed, says Mrs Manning.

“Our ED has been running over capacity since Easter and many patients have been waiting for a long time in our ambulance bay and waiting room. We had 428 people come through the ED over Easter weekend, and 97 admissions.”

“With COVID-19 still in our community, this has impacted staffing levels hospital wide and the availability of treatment rooms in ED. It is likely there will be long delays for people to be seen if they have non urgent needs.”

Despite the shift to Traffic Light Orange, the visitor policy at Taranaki Base and Hāwera Hospitals remains unchanged for those who are attending an appointment or visiting a loved one.

The policy is, one support person for each patient attending an appointment, maximum of one visitor at a time within visiting hours (2pm-8pm) and no visitors under the age of 12 years, unless by prior arrangement.

Additional visitors will be considered by the ward or department manager on a case by case basis and some additional restrictions in high-risk areas may be applied to keep people safe.

This visitor policy is in place to protect vulnerable patients and Taranaki DHB staff. Both hospitals are operating with reduced staff due to COVID-19 infections. Taranaki DHB has nearly 100 staff members isolating with COVID-19.

Security Guards remain on the entrances to meet and greet patients and visitors and carry out COVID-19 screening.

If anyone is feeling unwell, they are asked to stay home and connect with their loved ones in hospital via technology. Patients have access to free Wi-Fi thanks to PRIMO, so people are encouraged to get on the phone or send their loved ones a message instead to help keep our hospitals free of any extra illness.

Anyone who needs a COVID-19 test over the long weekend can find Rapid Antigen testing collection sites on the Healthpoint website

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