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Help us help you: Go to right place for your health care needs

Wednesday, July 6, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: health, services, support, care

Multiple winter illnesses continue to place pressure on our Canterbury health system, with general practices, pharmacies, urgent care facilities and our Emergency Department all stretched to capacity and beyond.

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury (formerly known as the Canterbury District Health Board) is appealing to the public to help take some of the pressure off our system by seeking the right care in the right place at the right time.

“Our COVID-19 case numbers remain very high in Canterbury. This is impacting our GP teams and pharmacies as they continue to manage high numbers of sick patients, with fewer staff because they too are unwell. Urgent care and Emergency such as ambulance and the ED are feeling the strain of this sustained demand too,” says Becky Hickmott, Senior Responsible Officer for Winter Planning, COVID-19.

“Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury still has on average 200 staff off every day with COVID-19 and similar numbers with flu-like illnesses, and there are still more than a thousand new COVID-19 cases each day and more than 6000 active cases, which is why we are asking the public to do what they can to stay well in the first instance and to please stay home if they are only mildly unwell.”

“It’s also really important you go to the right place to get the care you need, so that ED and urgent care isn’t tied up with minor illnesses that could be managed safely at home with a little TLC, plenty of fluids and a couple of paracetamol. That way, those crucial services will be available for those that really need them and everyone will be seen sooner,” Ms Hickmott says.

Helpful sources of information

You can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7.

Get some useful practical tips if you’re caring for someone at home with flu, including on danger signs to watch out for, especially when caring for babies and young children/tamariki.

Simple self-care advice is available on Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury website.

HealthInfo also some useful information, including for mild respiratory or gastro (upset stomach) symptoms.

Alternatively, during the week you can call your General Practice team for non-urgent health issues.

Your local pharmacist can provide free health advice and suggest over the counter medication to ease respiratory or gastro symptoms as needed.

Getting urgent health care

Canterbury has three urgent care facilities for when it isn’t an emergency, but your injury or illness needs attention that same day. They are:

They can do much more than you think – such as attend to bad sprains and fractures, minor head injuries and stomach pain – and there is no need to make an appointment, although wait times can be long when demand is high. Follow the links for opening hours and services

The Emergency Department (ED) is for serious accidents and health issues.

Call 111 for life-threatening injuries or conditions such as chest pain, stroke.

Keep up your healthy habits

Vaccination and healthy habits are the best protection against the viruses circulating this winter. We’ve all learnt some great habits over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as vaccination, wearing masks, physical distancing, and increasing ventilation when indoors. These measures will help protect us as we face influenza and other viral diseases. By having all your vaccinations and staying well this winter, you’ll help keep health services free for those who need urgent care.

“You can get all of these vaccinations (COVID-19, influenza and MMR) at the same time if you need them,” Ms Hickmott says.

“I would like to emphasise that if you are very unwell, we do want to see you at the Emergency Department. We want to reassure our community that the emergency and acute care you need will always be available for those that really need them. All we are asking is that you save ED for Emergencies, don’t go to urgent care if it’s not urgent, and look after yourself if you can.”