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Hospital Emergency Department at capacity

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Palmerston North Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) is at capacity and the hospital is full.

Over the weekend nearly 130 people presented each day at ED but many of these were non-urgent cases.

Winter places extra demands on both the hospital and community-based health services. MidCentral DHB and the Central PHO have developed a campaign, 1.2.3…Where Should I Be? to help people decide the most appropriate service for them. 

As a first step, people are encouraged to phone their General Practice team or Healthline (0800 611 116) for advice.

Central PHO’s Dr Paul Cooper said: “The GP Team has the patient's medical history, can give advice and make appointments with the most appropriate member of the team. Many practices are able to provide urgent on-the-day appointments and those unable to do this will refer patients to the local Urgent Care Centre for assessment and advice.”

Healthline is available 24 hours a day and is staffed by experienced registered nurses who provide health information and recommend appropriate care. They can direct callers to their nearest GP after-hours service, pharmacy, out-of-hours dentist or the Emergency Department.

Community Pharmacists can also provide advice about common medical conditions and can dispense certain medications without a doctor’s prescription, e.g. for children with gastroenteritis and people with bladder infections.
Step 2: After hours services are provided by GP and Urgent Care Clinics. Most are open until 8pm and City Doctors is open until 10pm, every day. Healthline is also available after hours.
Step 3: The hospital Emergency Department is always open. Those presenting at ED are seen in priority order as determined by the seriousness of their case, not by the time they arrive.  It is not unusual at present for the wait by non-urgent patients to be up to six hours.
The Emergency Department and St John’s ambulance service (dial 111) are for serious injury or medical emergencies.
Dr Cooper said: “Following the 1,2,3 guide will make the best use of health resources over the busy winter season.”

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945



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