Surgeries cancelled as beds fill up at Hawke’s Bay Hospital

Hawke’s Bay DHB says a spike in patients at Hawke’s Bay Hospital (pictured) is not a result of Covid-19.


Hawke’s Bay DHB says a spike in patients at Hawke’s Bay Hospital (pictured) is not a result of Covid-19.

Hawke’s Bay Hospital is in code red with nine surgeries cancelled on Wednesday alone, as clinicians deal with a spike in patients.

There is one active Covid-19 case in the region, after a person routinely swabbed at the hospital’s emergency department last Saturday tested positive.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board says the spike is not Covid-related, but caused by an influx of patients needing urgent care for other reasons. People have been warned to expect long wait times at the hospital.

Eight beds in the hospital’s endoscopy unit are being used for patients needing to stay overnight, the health board’s chief operating officer Chris Ash, said.

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“Hawke’s Bay Hospital is busy due to an increase, greater than it would normally expect, of patients needing hospital admission after an emergency department presentation, over the past three days. It is operating in code red.”

Code red means the hospital is at ‘extreme overload’ levels, and comes before code black – which indicates a critical situation.

He said it was “due to a variety of medical conditions and injuries, and exacerbated by an aging population where people present with more complex conditions, require longer hospital stays and more support to be discharged”.

“Part of a hospital ward is also being renovated and having its oxygen supply upgraded, which has impacted on hospital bed capacity. This work will be completed in January.”

Nine elective surgeries planned were postponed on Wednesday and will be rescheduled, and Thursday’s list would be assessed in the morning.

“The demand is expected to ease over the coming 48 hours as more hospital discharges are made,” Ash said.

Patient care and safety was paramount, he said.

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