15 Aug 2011

Elective surgeries, outpatient services cancelled

5:33 pm on 15 August 2011

Hospitals in Christchurch and Dunedin have cancelled elective surgeries and outpatient clinics due to heavy snow.

The Canterbury District Health Board has cancelled all elective surgery and outpatient clinics at its Christchurch, Princess Margaret, Burwood and Ashburton Hospitals on Tuesday.

The DHB says most radiotherapy and chemotherapy clinics are cancelled also, while planned caesarean sections will go ahead at Christchurch Women's hospital.

Board chief executive David Meates says with the predicted heavy snowfall overnight on Monday, there is concern that people will not be able to get to hospital.

Mr Meates says 40 GPs had to close their surgeries on Monday, but anyone who needs help should still phone their doctor so they can be redirected to one of three accident and emergency clinics.

In Dunedin, heavy snow has forced the postponement of outpatient appointments and elective surgery at Dunedin and Wakari hospitals.

Southern District Health Board says patients will be advised as soon as possible of alternative appointment times. It says Dunedin and Wakari hospitals will continue running all essential, non-deferrable hospital and community services.

The DHB has also warned people needing acute or urgent health care, such as maternity patients or those on renal dialysis, to consider the weather conditions and not to leave it too late to make safe travel arrangements.