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Reduction of healthcare services and restricted hospital visitor policy as COVID-19 cases rise in Taranaki

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases in the community and hospital, and impacts on the healthcare workforce, Taranaki Base and Hāwera hospitals are looking to reduce some healthcare services and tighten the hospital visitor policy.

Over the next few weeks there will be a gradual reduction in some services that can be safely postponed for a short period of time. This means patients are likely to experience disruption and delay in some planned surgery and outpatient and community services. Patients who may be affected by service changes will be contacted directly by the Taranaki DHB administration team.

Wherever possible the hospital will endeavor to meet the healthcare needs of the community by utilising digital methods such as telehealth in replacement of face to face appointments.

Katy Sheffield, TDHB acting chief operating officer, says the latest modelling indicates Taranaki is likely to reach peak case numbers in mid to late March.

"Given the growing demand this will place on hospital resources and the anticipated reduction in staff, it will be important we ensure resources are focused on continuing to deliver essential services," Mrs Sheffield says.

"We apologise for any impact this may have on our patients and their whānau. We appreciate our community’s understanding and support during the next few weeks."

The visitor policy is changing from Wednesday 9 March at Taranaki Base and Hāwera hospitals in response to the current Omicron environment.

- No visitors under the age of 12 years of age, unless by prior arrangement such as for an appointment

- One nominated support person for each patient attending an appointment

- One nominated person to visit a patient in hospital within visiting hours

- Additional visitors/whānau will be considered by ward or department manager on a case by case basis

- Additional restrictions to visiting in the high-risk clinical areas may be applied to keep people safe.

Visitors can still enter the hospitals any day of the week but are asked to respect visiting hours between 2pm and 8pm.

"We know that whānau are an important part of a patient’s care, treatment and recovery but we also need to keep our hospitals safe from the risk of COVID-19," Mrs Sheffield says.

Security officers remain on the hospital entrances to meet and greet patients and visitors and carry out COVID-19 screening. Visitors are asked to scan the QR codes or sign in, sanitise hands and wear a face mask.

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