Hospitals throughout Otago and Southland are almost at
capacity and some patients are being shuffled around wards as
staff deal with a seasonal increase in admissions.
Southland Hospital at Invercargill had about 93% occupancy
yesterday, which was not uncommon for this time of year,
Southern District Health Board executive director of nursing
and midwifery Leanne Samuel said.
Likewise, Dunedin Hospital's occupancy was ''in the early
90s'' and the smaller hospitals throughout the regions were
also busy, she said.
''On average over the last two months both Dunedin and
Invercargill have probably sat in the early 90s.
''Sometimes we'll have 100% occupancy, sometimes it will be
It meant some patients would be placed in a critical care
ward instead of a general ward because that was where space
and staff were available, Ms Samuel said.
Patients were not being turned away from Southern hospitals,
but some might be transferred among SDHB facilities depending
on their needs and the availability of services.
Ms Samuel said that was ''business as usual'' and no cause
''From time to time our hospitals are full.
''They certainly do experience seasonal swings, for example
Queenstown and Central Otago can be busy over the tourist
period including Christmas and New Year.''
Southland Hospital had ''quite a few'' acute admissions
during the past few days, but things had settled slightly by
yesterday, Ms Samuel said.
Patients were placed within various parts of the hospital
depending on their requirements and nursing resources, she
''It's a flexible system and it needs to be, so we can manage
patients as they come and go.
''We have a number of discharges every day and a number of
The SDHB's operations centre managed all patient movements
throughout the regions, Ms Samuel said.