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By 10.30am ambulance officers had already made five trips to the Oamaru emergency department - the first at 8am.
Duty nurse Viv Willson said the eight nurses who worked eight-hour shifts over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day experienced a ''very busy'' two days.
The emergency department had been particularly busy dealing with medical emergencies, she said.
Although Christmas was just a ''routine day'' for the hospital staff, it was usually busier than most other days, she said.
''We see absolutely everything, the same as any other day, unfortunately. So we could be up for anything. We maybe do get a few more visitors, in as out-of-towners.
''The last few years it has been very busy. We used to have quiet ones, but not any more. This particular year we have had two serious [medical] emergencies yesterday and one today.''
Registered nurse Glynis Kappely, gave up her own Christmas celebrations to help out in the emergency department on her day off. She said that with ''the bases loaded'' in the ED waiting room, it was necessary to come in.
''ED is very busy and the waiting room is full. The people we have got here are feeling pretty miserable.''
Mrs Kappely said staff had treated a range on injuries and medical issues.
''It has been more of a medical day today than a trauma day. Mostly patients have come in feeling unwell with medical conditions, and we have treated a few minor cuts and scrapes, but no broken bones, fortunately.''
The maternity ward was also busy, delivering one baby on Christmas Eve, and a woman was in labour on Christmas Day.