Spring brings lit­tle respite at hospi­tal

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Auck­land Hospi­tal is still be­tween 95 and 98 per­cent full, de­spite the on­set of spring.

In June the hospi­tal went on the pre­vi­ously un­known “pur­ple alert”, which in­di­cates it is close to run­ning out of room for pa­tients.

Daily op­er­a­tions man­ager Denise Man­ning says oc­cu­pancy rates are still higher than at the same time in pre­vi­ous years, but it’s diffi to pin­point a specifi rea­son.

“I think the weather pat­tern has got a bit to do with it. It’s change­able go­ing into spring, which al­ways makes a dif­fer­ence for peo­ple.”

She says an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion and spe­cial­ist ser­vices of­fered at the hospi­tal are also a fac­tor in the high oc­cu­pancy rates.

“There’s pop­u­la­tion growth ev­ery­where in Auck­land, but par­tic­u­larly in the cen­tral city. Fifty per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion base comes from other DHBs.”

And the types of ill­nesses, such as chest in­fec­tions de­vel­op­ing into pneu­mo­nia, have kept peo­ple in hospi­tal for longer.

Ms Man­ning hopes the num­ber of pa­tients will re­duce in the next cou­ple of weeks as the weather warms up.

A drop to be­tween 88 to 95 per­cent full is a pos­si­bil­ity be­tween now and Christ­mas.

Ms Man­ning says it has been dif­fi­cult to man­age the high num­ber of pa­tients with staff short­ages.

But oth­ers have been will­ing to “pick up the slack”.

“They have been fan­tas­tic. We could not ask for bet­ter sup­port from nurs­ing staff.

“It’s al­ways very diffi when they have fam­i­lies they need to care for.”

Age Con­cern Auck­land ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Grant Withers says el­derly peo­ple al­ways make up large num­bers of pa­tients in Auck­land Hospi­tal over win­ter.

“Ev­ery win­ter older peo­ple seem to suf­fer. It seems to ease back in the sum­mer, but the win­ter knocks them a bit.”

He says North Shore and Waitakere hos­pi­tals had a large num­ber of el­derly pa­tients as well.

One of the ma­jor prob­lems for the el­derly is many of them live in poorly in­su­lated homes built in the 1930s and 1940s.

“They don’t want to move be­cause they’ve been there for years,” Mr Withers says.

He says el­derly in the North Is­land are bet­ter off than in the south where tem­per­a­tures are a lot colder.

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