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Waikato Hospital Still Critical

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

2 SEPTEMBER 2008 - The situation at Waikato Hospital remains critical today prompting hospital management to set up an incident management team under the control of Hayley McConnell.

The goal for the team is to reduce hospital occupancy to 98 per cent by discharging more patients to rural and Midland hospitals, increase front door clinical management, assign specialty-based patients to private hospital lists and identify any barriers to discharge.

Medical staff moved 12 patients from Emergency Department to alternative areas such as patient lounges in wards and the Transit Lounge.

Eight beds in a same-day unit opened to take patients.

At present there are 25 patients in the Emergency Department waiting for inpatient beds, down from 36 at 8am, and only two available.

"At this time of the morning we would normally expect to have between

15 and 20 patients," said Ms McConnell.

"This is putting incredible pressure on us."

The conversion rate for patients from the Emergency Department was usually in the mid to late 30 percentage. At the moment the rate was closer to 50 per cent, she said.

Two acute theatres are running.

Ms McConnell said staffing was good today and she thanked staff for their incredible commitment in the face of incredible pressure.

The private Braemar Hospital today offered its assistance.

There will be a further incident management team meeting at midday and a bed meeting at 1pm.

Waikato Primary Health clinical operations manager Erica Amon said GP practices were also under pressure. Practices at Morrinsville, Te Awamutu and two in Hamilton reported increased numbers - a lot of viral infections in particular.

Most practices were struggling and asking patients to go to accident and medical centres.

Ms McConnell encouraged people with chronic conditions to make appointments with their GPs sooner before their conditions deteriorated further.

Patients were coming into the hospital with general medical conditions, cardiology and respiratory conditions plus patients with injuries from the weekend.

"We cancelled more than 110 elective operations last month to ensure our surgery was done in a timely fashion and this month it could be more than 100."

The Emergency Department last month saw a record 4779 patients, up from

4455 in August 2007 and nearly 200 more than the previous month's record in March this year of 4585 patients.

"We've opened more beds but unrelenting acute numbers and an overall increase in length of stay are contributing factors," said Ms McConnell.

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