10 Jun 2011

Auckland doctor warns of hospital overload during World Cup

6:27 pm on 10 June 2011

The country's busiest emergency department says preparations to cope with a large influx of drunk patients during the Rugby World Cup are cutting it fine.

Auckland City Hospital is expecting up to 270 patients a day during the tournament - a 50% increase on the usual 180 on a regular Saturday night.

But it does not get any extra funding to cope with the expected influx of intoxication and alcohol-related injuries.

With 91 days to go, emergency department clinical director Tim Parke is calling for urgent action.

He says more staff need to be recruited and full-time staff will not be able to go on leave to ensure the department is adequately covered.

Dr Parke says to keep staff safe from abusive visitors who come in with patients, the department is considering banning or breath testing them.