6 Jul 2019

Palmerston North Hospital struggles with influx

8:12 pm on 6 July 2019

Palmerston North Hospital has been struggling with an unforseen influx of patients presenting to the emergency department.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

It had an almost 15 percent increase from June last year in admissions to wards through the emergency department.

Just over the last weekend, it saw close to 300 people presenting to the emergency department, with many of the patients suffering from respiratory conditions, exacerbated by the cold weather, as well as cardiac-related illnesses.

A high number of those people required admission to a ward, resulting in parts of the hospital operating above capacity.

"A careful planning process is undertaken to ensure we can meet the needs of the MidCentral DHB [district health board] community over this time. However, the recent influx was unforeseen and unfortunately resulted in longer than usual waiting times for patients and additional pressure on staff," operations executive, Acute and Elective Specialist Services, Lyn Horgan said.

She thanked the staff for their efforts during the busy period, and patients who had to wait.

She said the hospital was always open for those in need, but there were alternative pathways for patients who did not require urgent treatment, including a number of GP practices in the area which offer some acute services through GPs.