Hospi­tal stretched to limit

Hamilton Metro News - - Front Page -

Waikato Hospi­tal is at “over­load” and hav­ing to resched­ule surgery and turn away non- emer­gency pa­tients from the hospi­tal’s emer­gency depart­ment.

Hospi­tal bosses are blam­ing the start of win­ter and in­flux of pa­tients through the ED who are then be­ing ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal.

The sit­u­a­tion has sparked claims of a “cri­sis” on so­cial me­dia, with sug­ges­tions any pa­tient who does not have a lifethreat­en­ing in­jury or dis­ease is now be­ing dis­charged by the hospi­tal into the care and man­age­ment of their GP.

“Waikato Hospi­tal is in over­load and above ca­pac­ity which is lead­ing to in­creased num­bers of pa­tients wait­ing in our ED for an in­pa­tient bed,” said clin­i­cal di­rec­tor gen­eral medicine Dr Dou­glas Stephenson.

“Be­cause of this sit­u­a­tion and for the safety of our pa­tients we are hav­ing to resched­ule pa­tients for elec­tive surgery that are not can­cer or emer­gency type surg­eries.

“Doc­tors and nurses are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to at­tend to pa­tients care in a timely man­ner. We un­der­stand that pa­tients need their surgery done and are do­ing ev­ery­thing in our power to get their ap­point­ments resched­uled as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Stephenson said the hospi­tal would only be tak­ing emer­gen­cies at the ED and “any­one who presents at emer­gency depart­ment for nonur­gent care will likely ex­pe­ri­ence long waits”.

Some pa­tients were turn­ing up with non-ur­gent med­i­cal con­di­tions when they should be seek­ing help from their GP or an ac­ci­dent and med­i­cal cen­tre or phar­macy, he said.

“Un­less it is a real emer­gency, please check first with your GP or phone the Health­line (Health­line 0800 611 116) be­fore com­ing to the emer­gency depart­ment at the hospi­tal.

“They will give you ad­vice and as­sess­ment, and you may avoid a long wait at the hospi­tal while we deal with the more ur­gent cases.”

He stressed that the ED was for se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents or ur­gent med­i­cal is­sues only.

“At the mo­ment the hospi­tal staff are mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion hour by hour. It is work­ing very closely with all the ser­vices to make sure beds are freed up as soon as it is safe for pa­tients to go home.”

Waikato Hospi­tal is at “over­load” and any­one who presents at the emer­gency depart­ment for non-ur­gent care will likely ex­pe­ri­ence long waits.

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