‘Keep the ER just for emergencies’ is the message from clinicians as we head into winter


“Keep the emergency department just for emergencies” is the message from clinicians as winter approaches.

Following an increase in viral respiratory illnesses seen in the community, the Emergency Department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital continues to experience a high number of presentations. Over the weekend we saw over 700 people in the ER which resulted in long wait times for people with less serious illnesses and today it is expected that ‘they stay busy until the evening.

Emergency Clinical Director Dr Mark Gilbert says it would be extremely helpful for people to use the different care options available to them or manage minor ailments at home if they don’t have emergency needs serious.

“This will allow our emergency room staff to focus on those who really need emergency care and continue to provide quality care, especially at weekends,” says Dr Gilbert.

“I would like to point out though that if you are really sick, we want to see you at ED.”

If you’re worried about yourself or someone in your whanau who has a respiratory illness, check out the checklist here
symptoms to watch out for and when to see a doctor.

Becky Hickmott, Canterbury DHB’s Senior Winter Planning Officer, said flu is now circulating in our community and DHB and community health staff are also affected by winter illnesses.

“Please get your flu shot and if your symptoms get worse call Healthline or your GP team first for advice rather than going straight to the emergency room. Early advice can save you from becoming so ill that hospital is your only option.

“It’s really important that we maintain the healthy habits that can prevent the spread of disease, like physical distancing and wearing masks. Help our clinical teams and our most vulnerable people by keeping all the very good habits we have learned over the past two years.

“Your GP or healthcare provider should be your first point of contact if your health issue is not an emergency. Please plan your routine healthcare in advance as much as possible and book early. Your regular health care provider will offer urgent appointments if needed. It is important to call your GP team if you are worried.

“If after-hours care is needed, people are encouraged to call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free 24/7 health advice or visit one of the Urgent care centers in Canterbury. If people come to the emergency room with something that could be treated by a GP or with advice from a pharmacist, they can be told about alternative options. People with non-emergency conditions are likely to have a long wait to be seen in the emergency room and urgent care centers, as we have to triage everyone who comes in to make sure those with the most need, with life-threatening conditions, are seen first,” Becky Hickmott said.

Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department is the only emergency medical facility in the city and one of the busiest in Australasia.

Trusted health advice

You can also visit our InfoSanté
website or your community pharmacy for health advice.

HealthInfo is a health information website that contains information specific to Canterbury. It is written and endorsed by local doctors, nurse practitioners, hospital clinicians and other healthcare professionals and features a mix of health information, fact sheets on different topics and descriptions of healthcare services. local health.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, it is important for people to maintain healthy habits:

  • Wear masks in all indoor environments
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Open windows and doors to increase ventilation where possible
  • Practice good hygiene by washing or sanitizing your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well
  • Take a rapid antigen test (RAT) if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are a close household contact of a positive case
  • Report your test results on My COVID Account (https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/)
  • Make sure all your vaccinations are up to date, including your flu shot and your COVID-19 booster.

A reminder that visitation restrictions remain in place at DHB facilities:
https://www.cdhb.health.nz/your-health/hospital-services-in-canterbury/

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