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A&E and Urgent Medical Centre working together

Wellington Hospital Emergency Dept.
Accident & Urgent Medical Centre

20 October 2004

Wellington Hospital ED and Accident & Urgent Medical Centre services working together

It has been confirmed today that from 1 November 2004 the privately run Wellington Accident & Urgent Medical Centre, which has until now been open around the clock, will be closing its doors from 11pm til 8am each day. It will remain open at all other times.

Recent media reports have highlighted the challenges local providers are facing in providing high quality medical care after hours. Financial viability issues have necessitated change in general practice approaches around the country.

“We have been working together with Capital & Coast DHB to address this situation,” Dr Ken Greer, Chairperson of the Wellington Accident & Urgent Medical Centre said today. “This co-operative approach will enable us to arrive at the best solution.”

Dr Greer says the welfare of patients is the key priority for both organisations, and they have arrived at an interim solution which will ensure patients can access doctor-level care overnight in Wellington.

From 1 November people who are sick and would normally have gone to the after-hours GP service between the hours of 11pm and 8am to see a doctor, will have access to treatment at the Emergency Department at Wellington Hospital.

“We thought long and hard before making the decision to close our Centre between 11pm and 8am, but it became clear that this was the only way we could go. We were only seeing 6 or 7 patients a night, and there was no way that was financially sustainable in the long term. We are confident that the interim solution we have reached in conjunction with the DHB will minimise any inconvenience to patients,” Dr Greer said.

The Centre will also be providing access to a telephone service which will provide qualified advice to patients, details of which will be announced shortly.

C&C DHB Chief Executive Margot Mains says the DHB has been working closely with the Accident & Urgent Medical Centre to prepare for this change, and they will continue to do so.

She says the use of Wellington Hospital’s ED is a short term solution while PHOs, GPs, and the DHB find a longer term sustainable solution.

“We believe that people who require medical care from a GP are best to see a GP. However that clearly won’t be possible overnight from 1 November for patients in Wellington who are unable to access other after-hours GP run medical centres.

“There is a clear need to have services available for those patients in those late-night hours, and C&C DHB is allowing the use of the Emergency Department in the interim.

“We would ask that people only come to our ED during these hours if they would normally have gone to the private overnight GP service. If they can wait till the morning to see their doctor we ask that they do so.

“We also acknowledge that some patients with less-urgent conditions may experience delays in being seen by a doctor, especially if our ED is dealing with seriously ill patients, or incidents such as a major accident.

“An extra doctor will be added to the overnight shift, and we are working with nurses on an ongoing basis to ensure appropriate nursing levels are provided.

“Our ED is staffed by extremely capable and dedicated clinicians who have our full support. We will be working with them to ensure that they have the resources they need to cope with this extra caseload,” Margot Mains said.


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