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Long wait times at Christchurch Hospital amid patient surge, staff illness

Christchurch Hospital has issued a warning for people with non-urgent conditions to expect long wait times amid a "significant" surge in patients and staff illness.

Christchurch Hospital. Source: 1 NEWS

Canterbury DHB chief medical officer Dr Helen Skinner said today that a large number of patients, coupled with unexpected staff illness, has resulted in longer wait times for care and admission to hospital.

“I want to apologise to those who are having to wait. It’s not ideal, particularly for those who are unwell and need to be moved through to a ward," Skinner said in a statement.

There are currently 527 patients at Christchurch Hospital, 105 of which are being assessed and treated in the emergency department, she said.

"While we are expecting some discharges today, the volume of patients coming in the front door is significant.

"If it’s not urgent, please call your own general practice team first. After hours follow the instructions on their answerphone to be put through to a nurse who can advise on what to do and where to go if you need to be seen."

She said Canterbury has a number of urgent care practices with x-ray facilities on site and can treat a range of conditions such as broken bones, including 24 Hour Surgery, Moorhouse Medical and Riccarton Clinic.

Anyone without a GP can contact Healthline for free health advice, or check the HealthInfo Canterbury|Waitaha website for localised information on a range of health conditions.

People have been advised to call 111 for life-threatening emergencies.

"We usually see a lot of people on Mondays as many people tend to hold off seeking medical attention until after the weekend, however today is extra busy, and the unfortunate delays patients are experiencing are also due to staff shortages due to illness," she said.

Skinner said the hospital was forced to defer some planned surgeries which would require an overnight stay as they "simply don’t have sufficient beds as they are prioritised for people with acute medical problems".

"Once again, I apologise in advance to anyone whose planned surgery has been affected."