Dunedin Hospital capacity no longer at code black

SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming says Dunedin Hospital is doing its best amid heavy demand....
SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming says Dunedin Hospital is doing its best amid heavy demand. Photo: ODT files
Dunedin Hospital is no longer at capacity following the Southern District Health Board's declaration of a "code black" earlier today.

The SDHB said this evening the code black had been reduced to a code yellow, meaning "early overload", under the hospital's escalation plan.

Emergency Operations Centre incident controller Megan Boivin said the code change was due to the "tremendous effort" of the staff who worked relentlessly to get patients through the hospital system.

“We still have a busy ED but we have sufficient capacity in the wards to receive patients.

“Our initial observations are that we probably didn’t manage to achieve the discharges we forecast over the weekend.”

The SDHB said patient flow was a priority and the capacity of the hospital over the past several days would be reviewed in order to see what happened.

When the code black was announced earlier today, SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said the hospital was doing its best to deal with heavy demand at a time of high occupancy, but patients could experience delays and some operations had been postponed.

"We are asking the public to go to their GP early, use the after-hours service and keep the ED for emergencies only, Mr Fleming said.

But the issue was ‘‘a whole of system" issue and not restricted to the emergency department, he said.

In line with the Dunedin Hospital’s trial ‘‘escalation plan’’, the hospital had declared what the health board called a code black, meaning the situation was deemed critical.

Emergency operations centre incident controller Megan Boivin said the declaration of a code black meant the hospital had established a modified emergency operations centre.

Early this morning, there were 18 patients in the ED awaiting a bed, and only three beds were available on the wards.

Staff had worked hard to improve the flow of patients through the hospital and the situation had improved, she said.

But pressure on staff was "unrelenting" and staff continued to urgently work to manage the high occupancy within the hospital to allow patients to flow through the system in a timely manner including those who present to ED, she said.

Levels of escalation:

  •     Green (normal pressure)
  •     Yellow (early overload)
  •     Orange  (overload)
  •     Red (extreme overload)
  •     Black (Critical situation)



This is appalling, having had a family member be admitted through ED in the last 24 hours we can only describe our healthcare system as third world.

Drunken people are a one big reason for ED overload. Go there any night, you will see what I am talking about.



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