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Published Thursday 7 Jul 2022

Statement from Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley interim district director John Tait

An assessment of ongoing pressure on the region’s hospital services have resulted in an extension to the significant reduction of deferrable planned care across Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley hospitals.

In June planned care across the district was significantly reduced for a period of four weeks, to be assessed in three weeks. This decision was made in the face of staff absence due to general illness, the needed for staff to isolate or care for isolating or ill dependents, and the long tail of COVID-19 – all of which were exacerbated ongoing high occupancy across our sites (particularly tertiary services provider Wellington Regional Hospital), an increase in influenza and winter demand, and high presentation volumes through our emergency departments.

Our assessment today is that these challenges have not eased and continue to placed substantial pressure on services – particularly our ability to carry out planned care – and the decision has been made to extend our planned care reduction for another two weeks.

During this time we will continue to defer the vast majority of planned care where it is clinically safe to do so. All decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by senior clinical and nursing teams, with the clinical safety and wellbeing of patients as the key focus.

Non-deferrable care – including cardiac, thoracic, cancer, and paediatric care – will continue as normal, as will some day surgery. As always, anyone requiring acute or emergency care will receive it without deferral.

Staff across our sites are working extremely hard, and we ask people to be kind and respectful to our staff and one another during this time. Medical advice – including about whether you need urgent care – is available from Healthline (0800 611 116) or your GP.

Please remember that anyone in need of urgent or emergency care will receive it. In an emergency, call 111.

This situation will be reviewed next week, and we do not have anything further to add at this time.