ED expecting more patients due to events

For emergencies . . . The Southern District Health Board is expecting a busy week ahead for Dunedin Hospital's emergency department. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS

Dunedin Hospital’s emergency department is expecting more patients, given the increased number of people in the city for major events over the next week.

A Southern District Health Board spokesman said the range of presentations to the ED was expected to be broad.

There was no readily available data on admissions during previous busy times, but no particular conditions could be identified as likely to be prominent.

The board was always concerned about alcohol-related presentations and while, anecdotally, it was sometimes felt these increased during major events, “they are no more of a concern than at any other time”, he said.

Similarly, people presenting with sexual health issues might fluctuate with temporary changes in the population, but “risky sexual health behaviour is not governed by large events”.

Since the ED is always busy, the DHB reminded people that the ED was for emergencies, and wherever possible if it was not an emergency members of the public should seek help from the most appropriate healthcare provider.

When events had the potential to impact on the health system, board staff and those from other health agencies liaised with organisers beforehand.

“This helps us put the resources in place to manage a potential situation as well as possible.”

This also included public health staff working closely with those responsible for events involving alcohol to ensure events were run as safely as possible.

“This includes pre-event meetings to discuss plans, including host responsibility practices for these events, and . . . monitoring of events and premises for compliance with licence conditions and the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.”

There had been no specific planning with regard to coronavirus for the Masters Games or the major concerts, the spokesman said.

“The advice is for anyone returning to New Zealand from mainland China to self-isolate for 14 days from the last day in mainland China not attend any public gathering.”

Asked whether there was any concern about measles at the large events, the spokesman said measles was not widely circulating in the community at present.