Hospital ED again stretched

Janet Andrews
Janet Andrews
Dunedin Hospital’s emergency department is once more being stretched to its limits and many patients are waiting on beds in corridors to be seen by medical staff.

Hospital managers cannot single out one factor behind the high number of patients visiting the emergency department, although Dunedin was busy with events and students were returning to the city for the start of the academic year.

"However, these populations do not seem to be directly leading to an increase in presentations," department charge nurse manager Janet Andrews said.

"Rather, we are seeing high numbers of people from across our community experiencing medical emergencies.

"The emergency department has been consistently busy recently, and we are working hard to ensure our patients are seen as soon as possible."

On Thursday, patients were waiting more than three hours to be seen, and staff were using the resuscitation area and corridors as impromptu consulting rooms.

At one point, five beds with people waiting to be taken into a cubicle were just inside the ambulance bay entrance. Ms Andrews said emergency staff were doing their best to avoid patients waiting too long.

"We have increased our medical and nursing staff during this time and ensure that patients are triaged by senior staff ... to help start patient care and treatment as soon as possible," she said.

"This means that when they are assessed further, we have more information available to us, and can ensure they receive the treatment they need as soon as possible."

Patients were mostly acutely unwell and were in the right place, but the emergency department should be saved for emergencies, Ms Andrews said.

Comments

That emergency doctors isn't helping anyone as they are not open 24 hours as they used to be and if you happen to usually go to a doctor out mosgeil or up mornington they charge more than most people can afford. I had to have my infant son checked for concussion, Called my regular doctor he told me to take him there as he was unable to see him and even though doctor visits are usually free they wanted to charge money I didn't have saying because it was an Accident. leaving me with no choice but to use ED for what I considered to be potentially serious but not life threatening. I was rather embarrassed but had no other choice.