21 Jul 2010

North Shore hospital emergency dept under pressure again

3:00 pm on 21 July 2010

North Shore hospital's emergency department is struggling with patient numbers again this winter.

Patients are regularly being treated in beds in the corridors because wards are full, creating bottlenecks in the emergency department.

Radio New Zealand understands even corridor beds run out on occasions, leaving some patients with no bed at all.

The Health and Disability Commissioner last year issued a highly critical report on the situation.

Waitemata District Health Board says the hospital is working hard to rectify the problem.

Dr Andrew Brant says an expansion of the emergency department will be completed in 18 months.

The Nurses Organisation says staff vacancies are exacerbating the problem.

Minister confident overcrowding will end

Health Minister Tony Ryall says he is confident that overcrowding at the emergency department will be a thing of the past once a $50 million upgrade is complete.

The upgrade is due to open late next year, and he says an additional 25 beds will help to fix the problem.

He says Waitemata district health board has been told that providing faster patient services is a top priority.