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Dunedin Hospital at capacity

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In the past 24 hours Dunedin Hospital has experienced high occupancy with heavy demand on services.

“We are doing our best to deal with this demand, but patients may experience delays and some operations have been postponed,” says Southern DHB Chief Executive, Chris Fleming.

“We are asking the public to go to their GP early, use the after-hours service and keep the ED for emergencies only.”

The hospital has been trialling an Escalation Plan that outlines the processes that staff are required to follow when the hospital is experiencing high demand, or where capacity exceeds available access to services.

“The plan has been put in action and a decision was made early this morning to declare the Hospital in Code Black - Critical Situation. This means that we have established a modified Emergency Operations Centre,” says Emergency Operations Centre Incident Controller, Megan Boivin.

Early this morning there were 18 patients in the Emergency Department (ED) awaiting a bed, and only three beds available on the wards.

“Our teams have been working extremely hard to improve flow of patients through the hospital in a timely and the situation has improved.

"We realise that the pressure on staff has been unrelenting and we are urgently working to manage this high occupancy within Dunedin Hospital to allow patients to flow through the system in a timely manner including those who present to ED.

"This is not just an ED issue but a whole of system issue. A Code Black enables a consistent and coordinated response to manage this situation. Without this response our current processes will continue to be under pressure which impacts the patient journey and we do not want to see this continuing,” says Mr Fleming.