28 Jul 2017

Health Minister defends number of ICU beds

4:21 pm on 28 July 2017

The Health Minister says there are enough intensive care beds for patients in the South Island, despite complaints about Dunedin Hospital.

Jonathan Coleman

Jonathan Coleman said if there was a shortage of beds at one hospital, patients could be transferred to another with vacant beds. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Earlier this week, RNZ reported patient care had been delayed due to the lack of beds, and one family said their father died after his appointment was delayed four times.

Jonathan Coleman said Dunedin Hospital had a plan to use its high dependency unit beds to supplement the intensive care unit.

"If there's more people in ICU, or more demand than number of beds, they will be able to step up to use some of those HDU [high dependency unit] beds, the other things is look around New Zealand we have a pool of ICU beds and it is common practice for people to be moved from DHB to DHB."

Dr Coleman said intensive care beds were available in Canterbury.

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