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See your GP and keep ED for emergencies only“Make an appointment to see your GP now and free up the hospital emergency department to deal with patients who need serious and more urgent medical help”.
That’s the message from Waikato District Health Board and Midlands Health Network as the Christmas and New Year holiday period fast approaches.
Waikato Hospital emergency department (ED) saw a record number of people visiting ED during the last holiday period with health concerns that could have been managed by general practitioners (GPs).
“There were about 45 people presenting to ED every day that we would term as primary care,” says Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams.
“It was clear that some people came to ED for things like renewal of prescriptions because they forgot to get them from their GPs before the holidays. An emergency department is often an inappropriate place for these types of patients.”
Midlands Health Network is a network of general practices which is making it easier for almost half a million people in Gisborne, Taranaki, Taupo-Turangi, and Waikato to stay healthy.
John Macaskill-Smith, chief executive at Midlands Health Network Ltd urges patients to be better prepared for the holidays.
“Talk to your general practice team to make sure you have enough medication and supplies for the holiday period, and make sure you are up to date with tests and any other health needs”, says Mr Macaskill-Smith.
“Find out your general practice’s holiday operating hours and where your closest after hours centre is. Talk to your friends and family to make sure they are also prepared,” he adds.
Patients are reminded that there are three steps to consider when seeking medical help.
The first place you should look for medical care during business hours is your GP, the second is after hours care which can be accessed via Healthline on 0800 611 116 and the third option is ED which should only be used for emergencies.
Date: 28 November 2012