Posted on Mar 14, 2022 1:25 p.m.
Planned care and non-emergency services at Gisborne Hospital will be reduced from today, with the number of active Omicron cases in the area reaching 3,070.
There are 262 new cases today, after 377 cases on Saturday and 288 yesterday.
Three people are hospitalized with Covid-19.
“At the national and local levels, our cases are going down. It means our hard work is paying off,” a spokesperson for Hauora Tairawhiti said.
“We may be past our Omicron peak, which means cases will continue to decline, but we must continue to work hard to slow the spread, vaccinate our community and test for symptoms.
“At the hospital, we have even more staff isolating themselves. Starting today, we are reducing planned care and elective procedures to ensure we have enough staff to respond to emergency and acute care.
The measures are due to the increase in Covid-19 cases affecting the availability of frontline staff and the need to maintain capacity for an increase in the number of people requiring Covid-19 related care.
The reduction in services will allow prioritization of urgent cases, such as emergencies, people strongly suspected of cancer and others identified by clinicians as requiring urgent attention.
Hauora Tairāwhiti chief executive Jim Green said the measures would ensure there were enough staff to take care of any urgent care the community might need, while ensuring that planned care services continue as much as possible.
“We know people have been waiting for their procedures to go through and we apologize for the further delay. This is a temporary measure and as soon as the situation normalizes, we will resume normal service and continue our efforts to catch up on the delayed procedures,” he said.
Most outpatient appointments would continue via video or telephone. Staff would contact anyone whose appointments are changed.
“If you are not contacted, you can assume your meeting is going as planned.”
Whānau Āwhina Plunket is also reducing services.
Viv Edwards, head of central regional operations, said as Omicron cases continued to rise, parents and carers could expect service disruptions as staff felt unwell or had to self-isolate.
“These include temporary clinic and walk-in clinic closures, delayed appointments and longer than usual wait times for PlunketLine.”
Ms Edwards said that as local clinics felt the staff shortages, frontline staff were focusing on caring for pēpi newborns and those most in need of extra support.
“This means that for people with good support networks who are doing well, we may have to cancel appointments, or offer them virtually or over the phone instead,” she said.
“We have a range of tools to assess and support whānau virtually, including online breastfeeding support, our data-free website which addresses many common parenting concerns, and regular updates and useful tips on our Facebook page.
“In addition, our wonderful PlunketLine nurses are available free of charge to all whānau and carers 24/7 on 0800 933 922.”
Anyone with immediate concerns should contact their GP or healthcare provider, or call an ambulance for urgent healthcare needs.
Ms Edwards said many people did not realize that Whānau Āwhina Plunket’s missed appointments due to Covid-19 could not be made up, unless parents were concerned about the health and development of their child or need additional support.
“We can’t go back in time and make up for those missed appointments, which I understand is upsetting for parents.
“We will see tamariki on their next main visit.
“It has been very difficult for parents who have had babies during the pandemic. We have seen an increase in stress and anxiety in our whānau and our families. We know the pandemic has hit people hard, socially and emotionally,” Ms Edwards said.
“Our staff are working incredibly hard to meet the needs of our tamariki, whānau and communities under the most difficult circumstances, and I am grateful to our parents and caregivers for their patience and understanding as we navigate together,” he said. she stated.
Gisborne Hospital. Gisborne Herald file photo by Liam Clayton