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Hawke's Bay Hospital coping well during strike

16 June 2006

Hawke’s Bay Hospital coping well during junior doctors’ strike

Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s emergency department was quieter than usual in the first 24-hour period of the junior doctor’s strike which started yesterday morning. On average, the department would expect to see around 80 - 90 patients in a 24-hour period – yesterday they saw 61.

“A total of 61 patients is certainly fewer than we would usually see, and we didn’t turn anyone away,” said Dr Bob Butler, head of the emergency department.

Dr Butler stressed that the department was well staffed with support from senior doctors and they would continue to provide 24 hour care throughout the strike. “We have extra staff rostered on for the weekend, and as at 10:00am today we’ve seen 15 people,” he said

There were 20 admissions to the medical wards and intensive care yesterday, compared to an average of over 30 admissions.

Two of Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s six operating theatres remain open for acute cases during the strike. Both theatres were busy all day yesterday with acute cases. Staff worked into the night in one theatre.

The freephone number (0800 450 113) established so people can check whether their elective surgery or outpatient appointment has been postponed, had received over 100 calls up until the end of the first day of the strike. No calls had been received by mid-morning today.

Chief executive, Chris Clarke, said staff were pitching in to help out, and there was a strong sense of teamwork. “I’m buoyed by the professionalism and dedication being shown by staff, and grateful to the public who have been very understanding, given the disruption this strike has caused Hawke’s Bay people,” Chris Clarke said.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the support of GPs and primary care providers in helping us to keep patients well in the community,” he said.

ENDS

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