Hospitals treat scores of seriously injured

5:48 am on 25 February 2011

More than 160 people in Christchurch are now known to have been seriously injured in Tuesday's earthquake and transfers of patients to hospitals elsewhere in the country has continued.

Civil Defence Minister John Carter said on Thursday that 164 seriously injured people have been admitted to hospital, while 1500 to 2000 people have sustained minor injuries.

By Thursday, Waikato Hospital was treating three earthquake victims. Wellington Hospital has four patients, all in a critical condition. Hawke's Bay has two patients.

Auckland District Health Board says six patients have been admitted to Auckland Hospital and the Starship Hospital for children. Waitemata DHB says it is expecting 12 dialysis patients on Thursday.

A field hospital brought from Australia is being set up in Christchurch and some of its 21 clinical personnel were already working at Canterbury Health Board facilities.

The self-contained unit arrived on Wednesday and includes a team leader, six emergency department doctors, six emergency department nurses, six surgical nurses, one general surgeon and one orthopaedic surgeon.

Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates says 200 more elderly patients may be moved from the region.

Some 80 elderly people receiving hospital level care, including dementia patients, have already been taken to other centres.

Mr Meates says the DHB's neo-natal unit is full and some babies will be flown to the North Island.

Pregnant women who have ante-natal appointments should still come in to their clinic appointments at Christchurch Women's Hospital.

GP visits and fees for prescriptions will remain free until Sunday.

St John Ambulance has 40 ambulances working in Christchurch, 10 support vehicles and 20 aircraft and more than 160 staff from outside the region backing up approximately 100 local staff.

The Red Cross is bringing in more staff from outside Christchurch, aiming to double the number from the 80 staff it initially brought in.