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DHB Urges People To Take Care of Their Health

3 May 2005:

DHB Urges People To Take Care of Their Health

Hawke’s Bay Hospital is full to capacity following an influx of acutely unwell patients last week, and medical, surgical and inpatient rehabilitation manager, Alistair Ayto, is urging people to take steps to look after their own health needs.

“Many of the patients we are seeing have put off going to their GP and waited until they are seriously ill before seeking medical attention. I urge people to seek medical advice early to nip problems in the bud before they get so sick they have to be admitted to hospital.

“The influenza vaccine is now available and I strongly encourage people to have the vaccine, to protect themselves against this year’s flu viruses. Getting vaccinated significantly reduces your chance of getting the flu, and a flow-on from that is it helps ease the pressure on local hospitals, where resources, including staff and bed space, are frequently stretched to capacity over winter.

The influenza vaccination is free for everyone aged 65 years and over, along with anyone who has an existing chronic medical condition such as asthma (if on preventatives) heart disease, diabetes, cancer and kidney disease. More information is available on 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or from any doctor or medical centre.

Mr Ayto said seven elective surgery cases were postponed yesterday due to the fact the hospital is full of people with acute conditions. “We never like to postpone elective surgery, but it was the only option yesterday as the hospital was full to capacity,” he said.

“What is frustrating is that many of the people currently in hospital could have avoided being admitted if they had done something to address their health problems sooner, and I can’t stress strongly enough the importance of doing so.

“It’s also about people looking out for each other - some older people don’t want to be a burden on their families or ‘bother’ their doctor with their medical problems and wait till there’s more than one thing wrong with them before seeking advice, and I’d like to appeal to families and neighbours to keep an eye on the health of older people, especially those who live alone or in a retirement village.

“The simple message is: don’t delay seeking medical advice, see your GP first, unless of course it’s an emergency or chest pain, in which case you should always dial 111 for an ambulance,” Alistair Ayto said.

END

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