Christchurch efforts stretch country's health resources

Patients around the country are being urged to be patient as resources are shifted to help Christchurch after the February 22 quake.

Health Minister Tony Ryall today praised private and public health services around the country for their co-operation and he urged workers to care for themselves too.

"They've got to look after themselves as well because we need them well freshened and spelled in order to provide good service so we are providing the back up that's needed from the rest of the health service," he told TV3.

"We are going to make sure that the whole of the health service pulls together so if we are going to take some doctors and nurses and physios from elsewhere in the health service it will put a bit of pressure on where they are leaving of course."

He said that could affect patients in other centres.

"The needs of Christchurch are the number one priority of the health service, and I think as patients we are prepared to make sure we are tolerant of maybe a few delays at hospitals in our own communities seek to provide good service because we are all helping out in Christchurch.

During his visit to Christchurch yesterday he was struck by the number of deserted homes. Quake refugees were putting pressure on services in Auckland, Wellington and Timaru and other areas.

"It's a big pressure point in number of places . . . this is again how we have a national response."

GPS were providing services for Christchurch people for free until March 6 as were some other doctors around the country.

"Everyone is making what they can available to support Christchurch people."

Mr Ryall said there would ongoing health and psychological issues and good infrastructure needed to be in place in Christchurch.

Christchurch Hospital has coped with increased demand and The Australian Army Field Community Medical Centre has been treating patients at Cowles Stadium.


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