Cold sufferers should visit their GP or a pharmacy not the Emergency Department says hospital leader
An appeal is being made for patients with minor coughs and colds to stay away from Tauranga Hospital’s Emergency
The numbers presenting with minor ailments has increased markedly in recent weeks and it was having two main effects
said Bay of Plenty District Health Board ED Business Lead Neil McKelvie.
“The last couple of weeks have been really noticeable for the increase in the number of winter-type illnesses
circulating,” said Mr McKelvie. “We are seeing a lot of people with the coughs and colds which are typical of this time
of year, and which are more appropriately treated by a GP or pharmacist.”
The past fortnight has featured multiple days around the 170 patient mark at Tauranga Hospital’s ED. 177 were seen on
Sunday 12 August. An average day would be closer to 140-150.
“That additional 20-25 patients a day can put a real strain on the staff, and it’s frustrating because it’s easily
avoided. The ED is for emergencies.
“The other consequence of coming to the ED with coughs and colds is that our staff members can become infected. They
then have to take time off work because they do not want to risk infecting our patients. That then adds more workload
pressure to the staff who remain.