Tauranga, Whakatāne hospitals declare state of emergency over RSV outbreak

The Bay of Plenty is the latest region to be hit with an outbreak of severe respiratory illness, with Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals both declaring a state of emergency.

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Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals have both declared a state of emergency as experts warn there could be even more pressure on services still to come. Source: 1 NEWS

The situation is so bad, earlier this week 21 staff at Tauranga Hospital called in sick and some are having to work an extra four hours to help out.

"We are working really busy shifts we have high priority patients who are really unwell and we are burnt out nurses are burnt out physically and emotionally,” a nurse, Morgan, told 1 NEWS.

"Honestly it is the hardest thing seeing it on your colleagues’ faces, senior nurses, that are just struggling each shift and we come in with the best intentions, but we know we aren't providing the best care that patients deserve.”

The Bay of Plenty DHB says it's looking after a high number of patients with acute demand for services.

At both Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals, a special management team has been set-up to help.

A sick baby is examined by a doctor - file photo. Source:

The DHB says it's redeployed staff to areas of high need and that some staff have been asked to work extended shifts.  

A big factor, the ongoing RSV outbreak which has piled on the pressure at other DHBs too.

“As we do see with flu when we get flu seasons, it tends to affect different parts of the country at different times this week it’s a very big issue for Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals,” Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.             

Experts believe we're seeing more severe respiratory illness this year because of a lack of general immunity following the Covid lockdowns.

They're worried disruption to vaccination schedules may create the next wave of problems.