Hawke’s Bay Hospital is at full capacity, and unless it’s an emergency, people are being urged to seek medical care from their family doctor or medical centre.

Chief Medical Officer John Gommans said yesterday (August 18) 156 people presented to the Emergency Department and of those 50 were admitted to hospital. "Only about one in three people is being admitted who present to the Emergency Department and while some still needed our attention, there are many other people clogging up the department who could have been treated elsewhere.

"There are a lot of coughs and colds circulating in the community and it is important that people stay away from work when they are sick and keep sick children home which will help prevent bugs from spreading. We are also asking family and friends not to visit their relatives in hospital if they are sick.

"We are reshuffling surgeries and have increased bed numbers, but it is a very busy time and early medical treatment from your family doctor may prevent a hospital stay or emergency presentation.

Dr Gommans said recently there had been a big increase in the number of children with nasty coughs and colds that had needed hospital treatment and it wasn’t too late for any child or adult with a chronic condition to have the free influenza vaccine that was available until the end of the month.

He encouraged people to see their family doctor or to call Healthline 0800 611 116 or to check outwww.healthline.govt.nz for free health advice 24 hours a day.

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