Over recent months services across our hospitals have been impacted by unprecedented levels of staff absence due to general illness, the needed for staff to isolate or care for isolating or ill dependents, and the long tail of COVID-19.
This staff absence has been exacerbated by ongoing high occupancy across our sites – particularly Wellington Regional Hospital as provider of tertiary services – an increase in influenza and winter demand, and high presentation volumes through our emergency departments.
These challenges have placed substantial pressure on services – particularly our ability to carry out planned care – and the decision was made to significantly reduce planned care for the coming four weeks.
During this time we will defer the vast majority of planned care where it is clinically safe to do so. All decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by senior clinical and nursing teams, with the clinical safety and wellbeing of patients as the key focus.
Non-deferrable care – including cardiac, thoracic, cancer, and paediatric care – will continue as normal, as will some day surgery. As always, anyone requiring acute or emergency care will receive it without deferral.
Staff across our sites are working extremely hard, and we ask people to be kind and respectful to our staff and one another during this time. Medical advice – including about whether you need urgent care – is available from Healthline (0800 611 116) or your GP.
Please remember that anyone in need of urgent or emergency care will receive it. In an emergency, call 111.
This situation will be reviewed in three weeks. We do not have anything further to add at this time.