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Earthquake Update 19 – Canterbury District Health Board


If your oxygen supply is faulty, or has been cut off because of power or any other issues and if you are having immediate breathing difficulties, call 111.

If you have an interruption to your power supply you are asked to find an alternative power source if possible.

If you are NOT having immediate difficulty breathing, please direct questions about breathing devices (such as oxygen concentrators and Bi-Pap machines) to Cardio/Respiratory Outreach during work hours - 364 0167.

If the call is not answered, leave a detailed message and the call will be returned as soon as possible. If it is after hours you should call 364 0640.

If your situation changes and you experience breathing difficulties call 111.

You can also ring Healthline on 0800 611 116 to talk with a registered nurse at any time.

All Canterbury District Health Board buildings – safety
All hospital buildings have been checked by independent structural engineers. Other than those which are closed off or have restricted entry (clearly marked by tape, cones etc.) the buildings have been assessed as safe to occupy. ‘Green stickers’ are being placed on the buildings.
Christchurch Hospital
Detailed information on the availability of Christchurch Hospital services can be found on the Canterbury DHB website.
General Medical patients – the Clinical Leadership Teams from both Christchurch Hospital and The Princess Margaret Hospital have worked collaboratively and identified Ward 3B at The Princess Margaret Hospital to temporarily relocate patients from one of the General Medical wards at Christchurch Hospital’s Riverside building.
Level four and five of Riverside block is closed because of water damage sustained during the earthquake. Some services on those levels four and five will resume later next week.
All patients currently presenting at Christchurch Hospital who require care under General Medicine will be transferred to Ward 23 or Ward 26 at Christchurch Hospital, or to 3B at The Princess Margaret Hospital for their inpatient care.
Transferred patients – Canterbury patients transferred to hospitals in other parts of the country are to remain there in the interim and this arrangement will be reviewed towards the end of next week.
Elective surgery – Although limited elective surgery will resume on Monday, March 7, there will be some patients who are still required to have their surgery performed at other hospitals. Patients will be contacted regarding arrangements.
Orthopaedic Outpatient Department – Christchurch Hospital Orthopaedic Outpatient Department has been open for normal business since last Friday for patients to come to their fracture follow-up appointments, as booked, prior to the earthquake. A number of patients are turning up Bealey Ave 24-hour surgery, where it is already busy. Patients should come, as arranged, to Christchurch Hospital Orthopaedic Outpatient Department, unless they have been notified of a change of appointment. Those who have missed their appointment, or are unable to attend arranged appointments need to phone the department on 364 0800.
The Diabetes Centre and Diabetes Christchurch Society at 550 Hagley Ave is closed. If you have any diabetes emergencies, please contact your GP in the first instance. If you are unable to find a GP, limited medical services are being offered at Cowles Stadium. A diabetes triage nurse is operating from Christchurch Hospital and is available Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm on 027 4543052. Alternatively call Christchurch Hospital 3640640 during these hours and ask to be put through.
Diabetes test strips and medications are free from your local chemist until Sunday 6 March. A limited supply of free meters is available at Cowles Stadium
Parking – There is disruption to normal parking arrangements at Christchurch Hospital and alternative parking is available at Hagley Park.
Patients with appointments at Christchurch and Women’s Hospital are asked to park at Hillmorton Hospital and catch the free shuttle which will take them to the main entrance at Christchurch Women’s Hospital. Parking at Hillmorton Hospital is free and via the main entrance on Annex road off Lincoln road, which will be sign posted. The shuttles between Hillmorton to Christchurch and Women’s Hospital will run from 8am to 5pm, leaving Hillmorton on the ½ hour and Christchurch Women’s Hospital on the hour.
There will not be a pick up at Christchurch Hospital’s Riverside entrance. All drop-offs and pick-ups will be from the front entrance at Christchurch Women’s.
Transport between hospitals – the St John inter-hospital shuttle will recommence full service on Monday March 7. Two shuttles as per the normal timetable will be running between Christchurch, Hillmorton, The Princess Margaret Hospital and Burwood Hospitals. There may be delays in arrival times because of road conditions.
Media are not to access Christchurch Hospital or staff without permission – ALL media queries must be directed to the Canterbury DHB Strategic Communications Team. Please phone (03) 337 7390, or 027 502 7523/ 027 531 4796.
Visitors to hospital – are reminded to clean their hands with alcohol gel before entering clinical areas. This is available at the entrance to all clinical areas.
Lyndhurst Centre – opens Monday, March 7 and women with appointments will be contacted by a staff member.
Brithing Units – Rangiora and Lincoln are open. Burwood is closed.
Vulnerable People
A 24-hour ‘Transit Lounge’ has been set up at The Princess Margaret Hospital, which will triage older vulnerable people in the community who have high health or disability needs. The Transit Lounge will provide assessment and coordination of services. Access to the service is through single point of entry (SPOE) 337 7765.
The families of all older people transferred out of the region have ALL been contacted.
Alternative arrangements are being made for children with disabilities who require respite care. Families are being contacted.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels started on Tuesday March 1, to suburbs where Red Cross volunteers have safe vehicle access. An attempt has been made to contact all meal recipients and their next of kin to establish their meal requirements. We are taking new referrals especially for vulnerable older people who are being discharged from hospital or respite care.
Meals on Wheels in Lincoln, Amberley and Rangiora have had no interruption to services.
Managing Liquefaction Silt Dust Risk
To reduce dust, water will be sprayed onto silt on Christchurch roads. This water may be contaminated and people should avoid contact with the silt.
Advice for cleaning shoes and clothes after contact with silt/ liquefaction
• Remove contaminated clothes and shoes before entering the house
• Wear a protective face mask and gloves
• Wash items separately, i.e. not with other clothing or household items
• Wash hands well, and use sanitiser before eating, drinking or smoking.

Masks – high winds create unpleasant dusty conditions in many areas Masks can be purchased from pharmacies and hardware stores, and are being distributed from water tankers (also hand sanitising gel). There is an adequate supply of masks, as the Pandemic supply has been released.

Health risks – a report rates the health risk from dust generated from earthquake liquefaction and sewage contamination as low following last year’s Christchurch Earthquake on September 4. The Institute of Environmental Science and Research report says the dust is largely a nuisance, which due to its small particle size can be inhaled into the lungs and make respiratory conditions such as asthma worse. Christchurch public health staff advise that earthquake generated silt and dust from the February earthquakes should be treated as potentially contaminated and the usual precautions should apply when dealing with it. Anyone exposed to the dust should wash and dry hands, use hand sanitiser and wear a mask if susceptible to dust. A copy of the report Liquefaction Silt - Public Health Risk is available from (See separate media release).

Important public health information 4 March 2011
Boil or treat all water from taps and tankers before drinking, brushing teeth, or using in food preparation. Bringing water to the boil is sufficient to kill bugs. If you cannot boil water, treat it by adding 1 teaspoon of household bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes.

Waterways are contaminated with untreated sewage. Avoid contact with rivers, sea water, ponds, puddles or other surface water. Do not swim, paddle, fish, or gather shellfish or any other food from oceans and rivers.

In many parts of the city sewerage pipes have broken and untreated sewage has mixed with liquefaction silt. People should avoid silt if they can, particularly if they don’t have running water to wash after contact. If people have to work with silt they should wear water-proof gloves, gumboots and a dust mask; shower or wash immediately afterwards; and wash clothes separately.

Take care when disposing of human waste (faeces, poo, vomit etc). Bury it in your garden or wrap it well in paper or plastic and put it in your red bin for collection. Wash your hands immediately after dealing with any human waste.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser after toileting, and before and after eating or preparing food. Free hand sanitizer is available from official water tanker sites.

If you get sick move to somewhere that has running water at a friend’s or relative’s place. Running water (for hand washing and toileting) is important in preventing the spread of illness.

If you are sick try to limit contact with other people, do not go to work and do not prepare food for anyone. The majority of GPs in Christchurch are now open to treat minor injury or illness. Dial 111 for emergency medical attention.

Take extreme care with food – particularly with food that should be refrigerated. Dispose of smelly, slimy, mouldy or discoloured food immediately. Do not refreeze food once power returns.

There have been 56 notifications of gastroenteritis since February 27. This is consistent with the number of notifications for this time of year. The incidence of gastroenteritis remains sporadic, with no large clusters indicating an outbreak. However, the number of cases may be under reported and people with symptoms are urged to seek medical advice.
Do not swim in rivers and beaches where raw sewage may be present. Locations include all beaches between the Waimakariri River and Lyttelton Harbour. The affected beaches include:
• Spencer Beach
• Waimairi Beach
• North Beach
• New Brighton Beach
• South Brighton Beach
• Christchurch Estuary
• The beaches at Sumner and Scarborough
• Taylor’s Mistake Beach
• All beaches in Lyttelton Harbour.

Water has been restored to 78 percent of households. Tankers are delivering water to areas without supply. You can also collect hand sanitiser, health information and facemasks from the tankers.
The city’s water supply remains chlorinated. Over 1000 water tests have been carried out, but 30 have still failed so it’s important that you continue to boil drinking water. Chlorination will cease once repairs have been completed, and the water supply is safe.
A free-phone dialysis helpline is available on 0800 881919. Any person who needs dialysis in the metropolitan area of Christchurch and is at risk has been moved to the North Island. In the future chlorination may be a potential issue for people on dialysis, however, it is very manageable as filtration can be fitted to the dialysis machine. If staff have any concerns about dialysis patients they can contact Adrian Buttimore, Dialysis Services Manager at Christchurch Hospital
Community Medical Centre, Cowles Stadium, Pages Road
The Australian Army Field Hospital staff who are operating the Community Medical Centre at Cowles Stadium have seen more than 600 patients since they set up the self-contained facility last week. The staff will be returning to Australia over the weekend and the surrounding General Practices are sufficiently restored to fully take up the medical case-load from Saturday.
The facility will remain on site for several more weeks to house health and community support services that are currently either ‘homeless’ but where there is a significant local need. The mobile community dental clinic will remain there as will physiotherapy services and the 10am and 5pm psychological support/grief counselling services. Plunket will move to alternate premises next week.
Updated information on services will be communicated regularly, and can also be found on Plunket’s website and Canterbury Plunket Facebook.
Free Urgent Medical Treatment Extended

If you are unwell, visit your General Practice team. If your health issue is earthquake related, your visit may be free. This arrangement is in place until the end of Sunday 13 March.
This is being funded by the South Island DHBs.

The urgent medical care offer is also being generously matched by major North Island general practice networks Procare in Auckland, Wellington's Compass and the Midlands Health Network (covering Taranaki, Waikato, some of Lakes and Tairawhiti). Christchurch evacuees in the North Island should ring first to check the initiative is being offered at their nearest practice.

In recognition of GPs support, DHBs are waiving the usual deduction on Canterbury practices when their patients are treated elsewhere until March 13.
General Practices and Pharmacies
Ninety four percent of General Practice Teams in Christchurch are now open, and 93 percent of pharmacies are open. Demand for pharmacy services has been high with up to 900 prescriptions a day being processed in some areas.
To find out whether your general practice team (GP/ Doctor) or local pharmacy is open, ring them first.If your general practice phone number is not working or you do not have a usual general practice, ring 365 7777.
For emergencies and life threatening conditions ring 111.
The ‘A Message Of Support’ ( website has been established with the help of Datam and NZ Post, where messages of support can be posted for health workers involved in the response to the Christchurch Earthquake.
The website is a response to many requests from health professionals and others from all over the world wanting to send messages of support to those at the frontline. Many people have benefitted directly from the efforts of staff and often want a way to say thank you.
The site will carry stories about the work people are doing and visitors can post messages up to 350 characters long on a general site or address it to specific areas such as the Intensive Care Unit or the Emergency Department.
Through this site, people can also leave messages for other agencies such as Police, Fire, Red Cross and Civil Defence.

ACC - people wanting to know what their entitlements are: 0800 101 996

Healthline - health advice 24-hours a day, seven days a week 0800 611 116
Red Cross- 0800 733 276. People who have relocated outside of Christchurch are urged to contact the Red Cross.
Urgent mental health advice Psychiatric Emergency Service on 03 3640 482 or 0800 920 092
Urgent Dental Care if you can’t contact your own dentist 335 4260. After hours 027 683 0679
Meals on wheels 337 7797
Vulnerable older people that urgently require assistance because of health or disability needs should contact Older Persons Health on 337 7765 for assessment and advice
Relocated older people – if you are unable to contact their usual aged residential care provider to confirm their location, please phone 337 8937 for information.
Dialysis helpline 0800 881919.
Ambulance 111
Pegasus 24-hour medical centre in Bealey Avenue – 365 7777

Water collection locations

Christchurch Hospital Services Canterbury DHB website

Counselling and interpreter services
A specialist counselling service from Refugees as Survivors (RAS) is now operating through the Primary Health Organisations (PHOs). This team of highly experienced people is available to any General Practice where trauma issues exist amongst those from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Apart from the Language Line number available to General Practices, a second number has now been made available by the Department of Ethnic Affairs. This number 0800 656 656 is available to ALL organisations and individuals free-of-charge. Simply dial the number and ask for the language required. There may be delays due to high volumes.
For face-to-face interpreters these are available to all our General Practices. Telephone 0800 INTERPRET (468 37738)to arrange this. Please try and book ahead as it is seldom possible to arrange an interpreter at short notice
For those requiring face-to-face interpreters outside of general practice, contact Wayne Reid, Ethnic Liaison Manager, Partnership Health Canterbury, 56 Shirley Rd, Shirley
Canterbury Health Laboratories
Canterbury Health Laboratories are fully operational including their collection rooms at CHL (opposite main hospital entrance), TPMH and Burwood. CHL collection rooms will also be open on Saturday morning 0800 – 1100 hours. Lab volumes are around 123 percent of normal.
Check on your neighbours and keep in touch with family and friends
At times like this it’s important to look out for elderly neighbours and others who live alone.
Welfare Centres (Ministry of Social Development (MSD)
From tonight (Friday, March 4), welfare is being focused on the hardest hit areas, particularly in the Eastern suburbs. Pioneer Stadium, 75 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon will continue as the residential welfare centre, with people who need overnight accommodation being transferred there if required.
During weekend, five Recovery Assessment and Information Centres (RAICs) will be established. Locations are to be confirmed later tonight. RAICs will be a one-stop-shop where people can access information about any services they may require.
For further information please go to:
Toilets for Eastern Suburbs

The delivery of the chemical toilets is being hampered by heavy traffic on the road. Residents are asked to refrain from any non-essential travel.

Work and Income offices People can also visit these Work and Income offices between 9am and 5pm weekdays and 9am to 4pm on weekends.
• New Brighton, 26 Beresford Street
• Hornby, 25 Shands Road
• Riccarton, 76 Riccarton Road
• Rangiora, Corner of Good and Blake Street
• Kaiapoi Community Link, Unit 9 The Crossings, 77 Hilton Street
• Ashburton Community Link, Corner of Cass and Moore Street
• Shirley, 203-205 Hills Road
Emotional responses to the recent crisis
It’s normal to be feeling very stressed at the moment. Everyone is affected in different ways. Some of us may feel very anxious or low in spirits. Some of us may feel it’s hard to function. If you are worried about yourself or a family member, please talk to someone in your general practice team. They can call on a wide range of mental health and counselling services, and more counsellors are being brought in to help.

Coping strategies - stress and anxiety The Ministry of Health has created a series of fact sheets with advice and coping strategies for people experiencing stress or anxiety in the wake of this week's tragedy. These can be found on the Ministry's website - - under the banner headline ‘Christchurch Earthquake’
Mental Health Nurses are available to provide support in the community. Please phone your GP Team for information.

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