Public’s help requested as winter illnesses hit high - UPDATED

Auckland City Hospital is experiencing its busiest period in history, with the adult ED having just seen the highest number of patients ever during a four week period,* and is asking for the public’s help to keep the emergency department for serious emergencies.

Although the hospital plans for higher capacity levels at this time of year, the current adult demand is above the usual winter increases, partially due to an unprecedented population increase in the Auckland DHB catchment area.

To prioritise patients requiring urgent care, Auckland DHB is also rescheduling some elective surgeries, and asks for the public’s understanding.

Auckland DHB’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Margaret Wilsher says: “We want to assure you that if you need immediate hospital-based attention, you will still receive the treatment you need, and we will provide you with the same high level of care. However, we ask that you only visit our emergency department if you need to.

“Auckland DHB treats some of the most ill patients and complex cases in New Zealand, and we prioritise which patients are seen first based on the seriousness of their conditions. If you arrive at our emergency department with a non-urgent injury or illness you may experience a longer wait, and we ask you to please be patient.”

Patients with elective surgery appointments will be contacted directly if their surgery needs to be rescheduled. If patients have not heard from Auckland DHB, there is no change to the date of their surgery.

“We never take the decision to postpone any elective surgery lightly and are sorry for the disruption and distress we know this may cause some patients. Unfortunately, the high demand on our hospital services has meant we have had to postpone some elective surgeries in order to continue to safely care for people with urgent illnesses or injuries.” 

You can help Auckland City Hospital and get better care for yourself and your whānau by knowing where to go if you’re sick or injured. This includes:

  • Seeing your GP for all non-urgent health concerns.
  • Visiting your local accident and medical clinic for minor illnesses and injuries – you can find an appropriate GP or accident and medical clinic by visiting Healthpoint(external link)
  • If you’re unsure where you should go, call Healthline for FREE advice from a nurse on 0800 611 116. Translators are available 24/7.
  • If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency department or call 111.

Auckland City Hospital is also asking for understanding that, in order to free up bed space for those who need it, patients will be discharged from hospital as soon as they are well enough to go home.

If you have questions about an elective surgery booking, please contact patient enquiries on 09 375 4300 (for inpatients only).

For more information visit link) 


*Four week period to 9 July, 2017 

For media enquiries please call the Auckland DHB media line on 09 375 3499 or email


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