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Allied Health professionals making a difference in our emergency department

When you come to the Adult Emergency Department (AED) at Auckland City Hospital, you may also see one, or more, of our Allied Health staff.

Allied health professionals are qualified health practitioners with specialised expertise in preventing, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions and illnesses. There are 43 different Allied Health professions in New Zealand, including occupational therapists (OT), physiotherapists, pharmacists, phlebotomists and social workers.

During your stay, you might see a phlebotomist who will take a blood sample, a pharmacist who can explain your medication, or a physiotherapist to plan further treatment.

Recently, we’ve been on a mission to build an all-star team of Allied Health kaimahi working permanently in our AED and Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU). “Allied Health can make a massive difference to patients arriving in our ED,” says Sarah Edwards, Service Clinical Director – Allied Health. “If an OT or physio can see a patient at this early point in time, they can often help the patient avoid being admitted or at least reduce their length of stay.”

The team was initially piloted to support patients with frailty issues but has seen success in other areas too. “Allied Health professionals hold knowledge that helps them quickly assess the patient, taking into account the wider context of their home environment and tasks the patient needs to be able to do,” says Kate McGechie, Advanced Clinician Physiotherapist. “Our kaimahi also have a great understanding of community support, and this can assist the wider team to make decisions around when you can go home.”

five kaimahi

L-R: Kate McGechie, Physiotherapist Team Lead, Nichi Smith, Physiotherapist, Lea Driscoll, Occupational Therapist, Clinton Good, Physiotherapist Advanced Practitioner, Frances Munro, Senior Occupational Therapist.



Staying at a hospital as an inpatient.

Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU)

Once you have been seen at the ED, you may go to the CDU where we access your illness or injury.

The CDU is not for long stays. You may be:

·         admitted to the hospital to stay longer

·         transferred to another hospital

·         treated and discharged. 

Emergency Department (ED)

EDs treat people who have a serious illness or injury that needs urgent care. 

Some people may be referred to an emergency department by their healthcare provider or the ambulance service.


In older adults, frailty refers to the loss of physical, cognitive or social ability to recover from illnesses or stressful events.


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