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Hawke’s Bay Hospital postpones elective surgery

22 June 2005

Hawke’s Bay Hospital postpones elective surgery as people with acute medical conditions fill hospital

Hawke’s Bay Hospital is full to capacity following an influx of acutely unwell patients, and chief operating officer, Ray Lind, is urging people to take steps to look after themselves.

“If you or your children are sick, take time off to recover before going back to work or sending your children back to school,” Mr Lind said. “There are some pretty nasty viruses doing the rounds at the moment and we know many children in particular, are being hit hard with influenza at the moment.

“It’s vitally important to seek medical attention early, from your GP or medical centre. In many cases a trip to the doctor for expert advice and treatment can stop people getting so sick that they have to be admitted to hospital.

“At the moment we are seeing people who require lengthy hospital stays for medical conditions that could have been managed by a GP if they were consulted early on.

Mr Lind said people were being admitted to Hawke’s Bay Hospital with a range of acute medical conditions including respiratory and cardiac problems. “We are also seeing increasing numbers of previously-independent people who live alone, succumbing to a raft of winter ailments. Due to their home situation, these people are not able to be discharged until appropriate support services are put in place.

“I appeal to Hawke’s Bay people to keep an eye on family members and neighbours who live alone, and encourage them to see a doctor as soon as they become unwell,” Mr Lind said.

Ray Lind said the hospital has had to postpone 10 elective surgery procedures so far this week. “I know other DHBs are in the same boat, and unfortunately, judging by the constant stream of people arriving at the emergency department and acute assessment unit, this looks set to continue for the rest of this week at least.

“The problem is compounded by the fact many of our staff are also affected by illness, either themselves or with sick children.

“I would like to apologise in advance to those people whose elective surgery is postponed, as I know how inconvenient this is. Those affected will be rebooked to the next available session,” Mr Lind said.

The influenza vaccine is still available and I strongly encourage people to have the vaccine. It’s available until the end of July this year, due to the delays with its arrival, so it’s not too late to get protected.

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.

“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,” Ray Lind said.

ENDS

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