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Update from Christchurch Hospital

David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board:

28 people who were injured in Friday’s shootings are still in Christchurch Hospital, with six remaining in critical condition in intensive care. One more person was well enough to be discharged from hospital with appropriate community supports, and two others have improved enough to be moved from ICU to other wards.

One four year old girl is still in a critical condition in Starship Hospital in Auckland and her father is in a stable condition in nearby Auckland City Hospital.

The people injured in the mosque attacks are still our priority for specialist care, which for some includes follow-up surgery and although we are closer to being able to resume our planned surgery schedule we will still need to postpone some surgeries for the remainder of this week to free up theatre space and surgical teams. Anyone affected by rescheduling will be contacted individually, and we will be apologising for the delay and thanking them for their understanding.

Christchurch Hospital is still exceptionally busy and we appreciate your support in reducing the demand for acute services such as the Emergency Department at this time. Although general practice has had a significant addition to their workload because of the ongoing measles outbreak in Canterbury, they should always be your first point of call for non-urgent care – call your normal GP team’s number 24/7 and after hours a nurse will advise you what to do and where to go.

As yesterday, most appointments at Christchurch Outpatients are going ahead as planned. If your appointment has to be postponed, we will contact you directly – any changes to our scheduling is purely to free-up key staff to support.

Please, continue to support one another and be patient with yourself and others – we’ve been through a lot and the process of physical, mental and spiritual healing will take time. As a nation and as a community we are still in shock and many of us will be finding it hard to return to normal - this in itself is normal. We all cope to different degrees and in different ways, and bear in mind the way someone feels doesn’t always show. Just being there for one another and being prepared to listen and offer a perfectly-timed hug can sometimes be enough.

Specialist Mental Health Services are part of our whole system health response to the mental trauma caused by events that affect our whole community. We are anticipating that those directly affected will require significant support for some time to come. We in Canterbury know from experience that traumatic events have long-term consequences, particularly for those who experienced the horror first hand – and for our children – which is why we are working closely with local communities to identify and respond to immediate support needs and to plan for future needs.

Additional Information:

Anyone who needs wellbeing support can call or text 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor. This service is free of charge and is available day and night. People can also connect with the AllRight? Team who specialise in wellbeing advice.

There are also resources available online:

• Ministry of Health resource – Coping after a traumatic event

• Mental Health Education and Resource Centre ¬ – Helping children cope

If you want to talk to a trained counsellor, you can phone or text 1737 to be put through to a counsellor any time of the day or night. This is a free service for everyone.


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