Dunedin Hospital has been hit by a ''perfect storm'' of two
different gastroenteritis bugs, patient services medical
director Dick Bunton says.
The emergency department (ED) was also stretched by
Twenty-three staff and 21 patients had been ill with a mix of
norovirus and Clostridium difficile in the past two weeks.
The outbreak had closed ward 6A, and ward 8B was designated
solely for gastroenteritis patients, Mr Bunton said
Sixteen elective surgery procedures had been postponed. The
hospital was considering an offer from Mercy Hospital to
assist with surgery.
The emergency department was ''busy as hell''. This was
exacerbated by disruption to patient flow to wards closed by
the outbreak, Mr Bunton said.
To relieve pressure, ED staff were giving patients chits to
use at the Dunedin Urgent Doctors and Accident Centre. Only
two had been given so far.
Mr Bunton said it was the first time, to his knowledge, chits
had been given to patients to pay for a consultation
The Southern District Health Board has asked the public to go
to ED only in an emergency.
Anyone who had experienced gastroenteritis symptoms in the
past 48 hours was asked not to visit the hospital.
Mr Bunton believed the outbreak was slowing, but the
situation would be reassessed today.
Seven new cases were reported yesterday: two patients and
Some staff were off work caring for sick children, he said.
A third ward hit by the outbreak, 6B, reopened on Tuesday.
Staff were working hard to keep the hospital functioning.
''So far, we've been able to staff all the areas, just. But I
wouldn't like to see this go on for too much longer.
''I think they're doing a ... sterling job.''
Dunedin's Ross Home and Hospital is also affected by a
vomiting and diarrhoea bug. Signs at the entrance last night
asked visitors to speak to staff before entering.
Attempts to contact the manager last night were unsuccessful.
In Balclutha, the gastroenteritis outbreak continues at
Clutha Health First. Chief executive Ray Anton said
admissions to the inpatient ward were not being accepted and
visits by the public were restricted.