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Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is undertaking a telephone survey of Christchurch residents to gather vital information on the prevalence of gastroenteritis, respiratory illness or other illnesses in Christchurch after the 22 February earthquake. CDHB is also using the survey to understand whether residents have access to essential health services – such as a GP or pharmacy – and whether they are following advice to boil or treat their water.

“I understand that many Christchurch residents are still living without basic services such as sewerage, power and clean drinking water,” says Medical Officer of Health for Canterbury, Dr Alistair Humphrey.

“People without these essential services are at the greatest risk of illness at the moment. We need to get a better picture of the health risks they face.”

CDHB is gathering very useful information from its involvement in community meetings, from the Recovery Assistance Centres set up around Christchurch, and from other agencies that are working in communities. But there are still gaps that the survey results will fill.

“I know telephone surveys can be an irritant, but I would urge any Christchurch residents who are contacted to take part. The important information they provide will help us plan for what additional health services and support is needed in their areas over the coming weeks,” says Dr Humphrey.

CDHB will initially be conducting the survey each week for four weeks. Five hundred Christchurch residents from across the city, chosen at random, will be contacted each week to provide feedback on health issues and access to services. The survey will take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Recovery Assistance Centres (RACs)

Recovery Assistance Centres are one-stop-shops where people can access welfare information and services. They bring together central, local government and non government organisations. Each RAC has visiting or on-call health staff.

This includes a designated Partnership Community Worker (PCW) who can link those in need with relevant health and social services and ensure they are linked in to a General Practice team. The PCW can also organise transport to help the patient get to a GP or a hospital appointment or to a social service agency. Each RAC will also be visited by a Health Protection Officer and public health nurse each day.

They’re open week days: 8.30am to 5.00pm & weekends: 9.00am to 4.00pm

Recovery Assistance Centres are located at:

• Linwood Community Link - 154 Aldwins Road

• Linwood Wainoni Aranui Recreation Centre - 31 Hampshire Street

• Wainoni Parklands Baptist Church - 180 Queenspark Drive

• Parklands St Faiths Hall - 46 Hawke Street

• New Brighton Nga Hau e Wha Marae - 250 Pages Road

• Aranui Shirley Rugby Club - Burwood Park, New Brighton Road, Shirley/Dallington

• Lyttelton Recreation Centre - 25 Winchester Street, Lyttelton

• Sydenham Community Centre - 23-25 Hutcheson Street, Sydenham

More information on RACs -

Physiotherapy at Cowles Stadium

Free physiotherapy is available at Cowles Stadium. The physiotherapists are from Physiotherapy NZ, a practice that has been relocated from its premises in Ferrymead and Sumner.

Phone (03) 384 0156 to make an appointment or drop in.


All water should continue to be boiled, until the council gives the all clear. Details of locations are of water collection available at Residents must take their own containers and remember to boil all water before use.

You can also collect hand sanitiser, health information and facemasks from the tankers.

Important public health information

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.

At times like this it’s important to look out for those who live alone, especially elderly neighbours.

Key public health messages are now available in Samoan. Other languages will be available soon.

Patient & Staff Shuttle Bus - Burwood Hospital to/from Christchurch Hospital

Departure times from Burwood Hospital (next to Beacon House) 0615, 0800, 1400, 1600, 2200

Return times from Christchurch Hospital (departs outside ED by traffic lights) 0715, 1530, 1700, 2315.

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

Maternity services – St George’s Maternity and Burwood Birthing unit are currently closed and have been since the 22ndof February. Many women are opting to give birth at one of the six remaining primary birthing units, or transferring for postnatal care after having their baby at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

General Medical patients – one of the General Medical wards at Christchurch Hospital’s Riverside building has temporarily relocated to The Princess Margaret Hospital Ward 3B.

Levels four and five of Riverside block are closed because of water damage sustained during the earthquake. Some services on those levels four and five will resume later this 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. If you are uncertain about the location of your family member or friend, please call patient enquiries on 364 0600.

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 this week.

Elective surgery – Although limited elective surgery resumed today, there are some patients who will need to have their surgery performed at other hospitals. Patients will be contacted regarding arrangements.


Planning continues for a potential gastroenteritis outbreak. Anyone with symptoms (vomiting and/or diarrhoea) should phone their GP or pharmacy for 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.

Free Urgent Medical Treatment

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

Despite ongoing difficulties with infrastructure, most General Practice Teams are now open. Rural GPs remain very busy.

You can phone your General Practice 24 hours a day. When your practice is closed at night, you will be put through to a telephone triage service. 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.

Looking after ourselves

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, or cry easily. Some of us may feel it’s hard to function. Don’t just try to ‘tough it out’. If you are concerned 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.


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

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.

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.

Other useful websites include:


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