8 Jun 2009

Christchurch hotline to direct acute patients

3:55 pm on 8 June 2009

A Christchurch doctor says a new hospital hotline will help direct acute patients to the best place for treatment.

Canterbury District Health Board plans to create a hotline where triage nurses can advise patients if they should go to a clinic or an emergency department.

The announcement of the measure comes after a publicity campaign designed to relieve overcrowded emergency rooms was found to be discouraging some acute patients from getting emergency help.

The clinical director of Pegasus Health, Simon Wynn-Thomas, says a nurse-run hotline would prevent seriously ill patients going to 24-hour clinics for help instead of emergency rooms.