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Help take the pressure off an especially busy Hospital

With winter illnesses like coughs and colds already on the rise and a spell of colder weather forecast, Canterbury hospitals are under pressure.

There’s been an increase in influenza-like illness in Canterbury in the last week, which has led to an increase in demand for health services, particularly on the Emergency Department of Christchurch Hospital and on hospital admissions across the region.

Canterbury District Health Board is reminding people that they can help take the pressure off emergency services by always making their general practice team the first port of call for their non-emergency healthcare.

Carolyn Gullery, Executive Director Planning, Funding and Decision Support says the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital is always available for emergency care and you shouldn’t hesitate to dial 111 in a life-threatening emergency – but if it isn’t an emergency, there are quicker ways of getting the help you need from the right person.

“If it’s not an emergency, you should always call your own general practice team first. Save their phone number in your mobile phone so you can also easily access free health advice after hours.

“When you call your general practice after hours, a registered nurse will be available to provide free health advice any time of day or night. They will advise you what to do and, if you need to be seen urgently, where to go. Many practices now operate extended hours or additional services, which is another reason you should call first to check,” Carolyn says.

You can meet some of the #carearoundtheclock nursing team and learn more about the service they provide here.

If you need medical attention after hours but although it’s not life-threatening it won’t wait, you can visit one of the Urgent Care practices listed below. They can provide a number of after-hours services beyond those you might expect to find at most general practices. They specialise in sports injuries, can carry out minor surgery, take X-rays and set broken bones for example.
• The 24 Hour Surgery – open all day, every day
• Moorhouse Medical –open 8am – 8pm daily
• Riccarton Clinic –open 8am – 8pm daily

For people who want to take that extra step to keep themselves well this winter, the flu vaccine is available now. It’s free for over 65s and pregnant women at general practices and many pharmacies. It’s also free for vulnerable people with certain pre-existing health conditions but only through their general practice team. If you’re not eligible for a free flu shot, contact your general practice team or pharmacy to find how you can get one.

The best way to protect yourself and your whānau and stop the spread of influenza is to get immunised - or you could be putting yourself and your whānau at risk.

For more information about flu and why it’s worth avoiding, visit: www.flufree.co.nz

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