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Published Wednesday 12 Jul 2017

The hospital is under pressure from the usual winter illnesses, and people who are unwell or have minor injuries are being encouraged to seek medical help from their GP.

Staff are working around the clock to provide high-quality care, however high patient volumes mean people with non-urgent injuries and illnesses are waiting longer to be seen in the Emergency Department.

Chest infections and other illnesses are more common in cold weather. There’s also an increase in sprained and strained ankles and muscles with winter sports. All of these conditions can be treated at your medical centre, and if you go to them early you can avoid getting sicker and ending up in hospital. 

GPs and practice nurses can treat a range of health problems from stomach bugs, asthma attacks and chest infections to stitching cuts, treating ankle sprains and diagnosing rashes and GP visits for children under 13 are usually free.

A quick call to Healthline can help guide where you should seek treatment - phone 0800 611 116. Healthline is operated 24 hours a day by registered nurses and provides free health advice. You can also refer to the online information available from Health Navigator www.healthnavigator.org.nz.

If you are visiting the emergency department, please be patient. Wait times may be longer than usual and remember, even if there aren’t many people in the waiting room, it doesn’t mean the hospital isn't busy. Patients often arrive by ambulance at the side of the hospital and need urgent treatment. Emergency care operates on a ‘who’s worst is seen first’ basis.

As always, call 111 for an ambulance if you have a medical emergency, such as trouble breathing or serious head and chest pain.