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Help Keep the Emergency Departments for Medical Emergencies

Help Keep the Emergency Departments for Medical Emergencies Only

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board is urging people in the region to see their GP and call the 24/7 Healthline if they feel unwell and it is not a medical emergency.

With the winter influenza season well underway, Nelson Hospital and Wairau Hospital emergency departments (ED) are very busy and at capacity, says NMDHB Clinical Director for Medical Surgical Services Dr Bruce King.

“Our hardworking ED staff of nurses and doctors and everyone working in the emergency departments are stretched,” he says.

“So this is a timely reminder that the emergency department is for medical emergencies for seriously ill patients, not for treating minor illnesses or injuries.
“The record numbers of people turning up to the emergency departments puts pressure on the whole hospital system including staff and wards.

Recommendations for People with Minor Injury or Illness
“If it is not an emergency, we strongly recommend people take one or more of the following actions for minor illness or injury:

· Call your GP early and make an appointment.

· See the after-hours medical centre in your area.

* Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free advice from trained registered nurses.
Healthline is a national phoneline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a confidential service and a free call from anywhere in the country. It is manned by nurses who are specialists in accessing and advising over the phone.

Deciding whether to go to the emergency department will depend on how serious a person’s illness or injury is. If you feel unwell but are unsure whether to see a doctor, they can advise.

If you need urgent advice about a family or friend who’s unwell, they can advise. They can also advise you on the nearest doctor or pharmacy.
“Our message to people in the region is please help keep the emergency department for emergencies only. That is vitally important during the winter flu season and other busy periods for our hospitals, says NMDHB’s Clinical Director for Medical Surgical Services.

“If people with minor illnesses or a minor injury see their GP early or call Healthline, it will ensure that emergency departments in Nelson Hospital and Wairau Hospital in Blenheim is for people who have a medical emergency and needs urgent attention.”

If a person has a medical emergency, call 111 without delay.


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