Emergency Department Response Praised
Some media reports in the last 18 hours suggested Waikato Hospital's emergency department struggled to cope with the mass casualty involving eight firefighters from the Tamahere blast.
This information is wrong and upset staff at Waikato Hospital who coped professionally under huge pressure, Waikato Hospital group manager Hayley McConnell said today.
There were also reports the emergency department closed down for a period and this too was incorrect.
"When we knew there were eight casualties coming in, we went into our emergency department where we had a number of patients waiting and informed them of likely delays.
"They were told if their medical problem was not urgent or could be dealt with by a local medical centre, that would be a good option to take to avoid a lengthy waiting period," said Ms McConnell.
"As soon as we knew the casualties were coming, we instigated our standard on call system where we ask off duty staff to indicate their availability.
"A number of off-duty emergency department nurses made themselves available, our clinical unit director (emergency) stayed on past his shift; a number of other medical staff stayed on duty and we had more than 30 other staff volunteer to help.
"As in all major incidents we came together as a team.
"When people offer this level of help it is disturbing to see misleading comments suggesting our staff and hospital was unable to cope," she said.