Contact your own doctor first, SDHB says

The Southern District Health Board is  urging  people with minor injuries and illnesses to contact their family doctor or the Urgent Doctors,  because Dunedin Hospital is at capacity and demand is stretching emergency departments in the district.

A "winter peak" in emergency department presentations has caused higher-than-usual demand for clinical care across the district and led to longer wait times for some people  at emergency departments.

SDHB chief medical officer  Nigel Millar said hospitals across the district were very busy with patients presenting with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.

"People presenting with minor injuries or illnesses may have to wait longer than we would like as staff will naturally focus on the care of people with more pressing problems," he said.

"We encourage people to make an appointment with their family doctor or Urgent Doctors for minor injuries and illnesses or call Healthline on 0800 611-116 for free health advice 24 hours a day and to reserve our emergency departments for emergencies only."

SDHB chief executive Carole Heatly said Dunedin Hospital staff were coping with the increased demand.

"The Dunedin Hospital is at capacity but Southern DHB is effectively managing the situation using all resources available, including partners in the community," she said.

Dr Millar said additional resources had been appointed to support staff, patients and their families and clinical teams were prioritising work as part of winter planning.

"Our staff are working really hard to ensure patients are seen in ED in order of priority and we have strategies in place to manage the increased presentations," Dr Millar said.

"They are doing a fantastic job and have gone above and beyond their usual duties to ensure that we continue to provide high levels of care to our patients during this busy period."


It has been the case for some time, here and nationally, that minor conditions are not for ED. Still, people ignore the requests, out of a sense of entitlement or whatever, and clog the system.



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