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Te Whatu Ora Southern Festive Season

Issue date:

As we head into the festive season, we are urging our community to be prepared for their healthcare needs, especially if you are heading away on holiday.

One key thing people can do is save the number for Healthline, 0800 611 116 in their phone. They are available 24/7 and can give you free health advice and tell you where to go to seek care, if your general practice is closed or you are travelling in a different part of the country.

With COVID-19 cases increasing in the community and in our hospitals, it’s important to keep yourself and your whānau safe.  If you are eligible for your COVID-19 booster, please go and get it. If you are unwell, stay home and RAT test. Remember, RAT tests are free and can be ordered here.

We encourage everyone to wear a mask in public settings (including all Southern hospitals and healthcare facilities) and practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing. More information about keeping COVID safe this Summer is available here.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 7 days while you recover. Antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19 are available for people who are at risk of developing serious illness and for some people who have tested positive for COVID-19. More information on what to do if you test positive is available here.

Dunedin, Southland and Lakes District Hospitals are very busy as we head into the festive season. Our Emergency Departments are experiencing high demand. Patients are triaged by an experienced Emergency Department Nurse on arrival, with our sickest patients seen first. We apologise to anyone who has to wait an extended time for treatment and appreciate that this can be stressful when you’re feeling unwell.

Our Emergency Departments are open 24/7, 365 days a year and we do not turn anyone away who is seeking medical help.

As we head into the festive season, please remember to look after yourself and your whānau. We know 2022 has been challenging. Check in with your whānau, friends and neighbours who may be lonely and not have family around.

Where to find help

We encourage our community to be prepared for the festive season by checking in with your GP and collecting repeat prescriptions in advance if needed.

For self-care at home, visit your pharmacist for any over the counter medications that you might need such as Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and antihistamines. Go to your local Pharmacy for advice and medicine if needed.

In an emergency, call 111 and ask for an ambulance. Otherwise, you should call your normal GP when you or someone in your family is not feeling well.

You can call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 to speak to an experienced team of registered nurses, paramedics and health advisors, who can provide you with health information and advice on care.

For COVID-19 health advice call 0800 358 5453 anytime.

For COVID-19 vaccination advice call 0800 28 29 26 (8am - 8pm 7 days a week).

You can find Southern COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic information here.

For Mental Health services, please find information here or on the Mental Health Foundation website here or call/text these services:

    • Free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor
    • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or Free text 4357 (HELP)
    • Youthline: 0800 376 633 or Free text 234

Thank you to our health care workers

A huge thank you to our Te Whatu Ora Southern team for their continued efforts in ensuring patients and their whānau receive the best possible care and health care services. We are very proud of our team and the hard work they do every day to look after our community. Many of our team will be working over the festive season and we appreciate their kindness, commitment, and service.

Te Whatu Ora Southern wishes our community a safe and relaxing festive season.

Hamish Brown, Southern Interim District Director, Te Whatu Ora