Look out for each other now, neighbours urged

8:17 pm on 4 September 2010

Health authorities in Canterbury are calling on neighbours to look out for each other in the aftermath of Saturday's quake.

A spokesperson for the Canterbury District Health Board, Michele Hider, says hospitals and after-hours services are coping well with the extra patients, mainly people with cuts and bruises and heart problems.

But she says people should be mindful of the welfare of elderly neighbours and those with poor mobility.

Only two people suffered serious injury in the quake, after being hit by falling masonry and glass; one is in intensive care.

The board's chief executive, David Meates, says all community health services and emergency services have responded as they should and worked incredibly well.

He says night staff stayed on until other staff members could get in on Saturday morning.

Christchurch Hospital says it's been busy, but the emergency department is back to operating as usual for a Saturday.

Mr Meates says decisions will be made in the next day about what non-urgent operations will be done on Monday and Tuesday.

Plea to ease pressure on ED

The public is still being advised to look after minor injuries at home, and to visit accident and medical centres with more pressing problems if possible, rather than visiting Christchurch Hospital's emergency department.

People are being urged to keep the department free for serious cases and either stay home or use the medical centres in Bealey Ave, Moorhouse Ave and Riccarton.

The centres have been treating a steady stream of patients with mainly minor injuries.

The manager of Moorhouse Medical and Pharmacy, David Jones, says that by 1pm the centre had treated about 40 patients. He says extra staff have been brought in to assist.

All hospital water and power back on

A district health board spokesperson says water and power has now been restored to all hospitals.

Burwood Hospital was without running water earlier on Saturday and extra supplies had to be brought in for Hillmorton and Princess Margaret hospitals.

Burwood Birth Unit and Linwood Maternity Hospital are closed until further notice and women about to give birth are being told to go to Christchurch Women's.

The board's chief medical officer, Nigel Millar, says Christchurch Hospital has spare capacity and there are no staffing problems. The hospital is back on mains power after having to rely on its emergency generator for a while.

Dr Millar advises people in Christchurch to boil water before they drink it.

Radiographers call off action

Radiographers in Christchurch have called off all strike action in the city because of the quake.

Radiographers, who do X-rays, images and scans, had planned to withdraw CT and MRI images and some operating theatre work as part of ongoing partial industrial action over a pay claim.

Staff had also planned to walk off the job entirely during a nationwide strike for 24 hours on Tuesday.

The APEX union representing radiographers says it has suspended all action - including next Tuesday - and radiographers are working as normal. Union delegate Bernadette Gourley says they're happy to help in any way they can.

Hospital lab workers, also involved in partial strike action, say they are available to work too.

Radiographers at Auckland City and Starship hospitals are taking strike action from Friday for three days.