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Pressure Eases At Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department

Jo Gibbs, Interim Group Director of Operations for Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Canterbury:

Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) is calmer this morning following an extremely busy day yesterday and last night.

The total number of attendances from midnight Monday to midnight Tuesday was 357. What made yesterday and last night particularly challenging was the large number of very unwell patients all requiring care at the same time – at its peak there were 124 people in the department, it dropped to 107 between 9 and 10pm and 87 at midnight and that is still a large number of unwell people to be looked after. The usual number of patients at midnight is 40-60.

As at 8.30am this morning there were 34 patients being looked after in the Emergency Department.

Last night the admission rate was 32% - which means almost a third of all people coming to ED were so sick that they needed to be admitted to hospital. There was no particular cause or common reasons for admissions or the high acuity – the only trend yesterday and last night was that there were a lot of medical, rather than surgical admissions.

We’d like to thank everyone for their patience, as some people had to wait longer than we would like. Our admission rate has reduced slightly to 30% this morning, however the wider hospital is still very busy at 104% occupancy.

Despite the busyness, we are here for anyone who needs emergency care, and people shouldn’t hesitate to call 111 if it’s an emergency.

Special thanks to our staff who coped admirably with the unexpected high numbers of patients last night and thanks too to those who sought alternative care and health advice – there are a range of options available to people, and we are grateful when people choose well, and utilise one of the many options available after hours where this is appropriate and convenient for them.

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