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Cold sufferers should visit their GP or a pharmacy

Cold sufferers should visit their GP or a pharmacy not the Emergency Department says hospital leader

An appeal is being made for patients with minor coughs and colds to stay away from Tauranga Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED).

The numbers presenting with minor ailments has increased markedly in recent weeks and it was having two main effects said Bay of Plenty District Health Board ED Business Lead Neil McKelvie.

“The last couple of weeks have been really noticeable for the increase in the number of winter-type illnesses circulating,” said Mr McKelvie. “We are seeing a lot of people with the coughs and colds which are typical of this time of year, and which are more appropriately treated by a GP or pharmacist.”

The past fortnight has featured multiple days around the 170 patient mark at Tauranga Hospital’s ED. 177 were seen on Sunday 12 August. An average day would be closer to 140-150.

“That additional 20-25 patients a day can put a real strain on the staff, and it’s frustrating because it’s easily avoided. The ED is for emergencies.

“The other consequence of coming to the ED with coughs and colds is that our staff members can become infected. They then have to take time off work because they do not want to risk infecting our patients. That then adds more workload pressure to the staff who remain.



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