Taranaki Hospitals restricted visitor policy restarted

11 July 2022

Critical clinical staff shortages due to illness has caused Taranaki Base and Hāwera hospitals to return to restricted visitor numbers and a reduce planned care services from Tuesday, July 12, for at least the next two weeks of the July school holidays.

The visitor restrictions include one visitor per patient, no visitors under 16 unless with a prior appointment, and no admittance of visitors if they are unwell, says Te Whatu Ora Taranaki’s acting chief operating officer, Katy Sheffield.

“There will be exceptions on compassionate grounds on a case by case basis for Maternity and the Children’s Ward for example where parents and support people may be required,” explains Sheffield. “We will also take into consideration support for palliative patients, and ward managers and or lead clinicians may approve other exceptions based on other compassionate grounds.”

“We appreciate that having whanau present is an important part of patient wellbeing and we will be working with whanau to balance patient health and safety measures to keep our hospitals functioning.”

The visitor restrictions are due to steadily rising Covid-19, influenza, RSV as well as gastroenteritis cases in the community which are having an impact on hospital staff who are themselves falling sick, or having to stay home to look after sick whanau members.

“As part of our infection prevention control, visitor restrictions will help keep our staff and patients safe by minimising the risk of these virus’ spreading in the hospitals.”

Since the start of last weekend, both New Plymouth base and Hawera hospitals were nearing 100% occupancy with more pressure on beds expected as the region moves towards the expected peak in Covid-19 and influenza numbers around July 19.

“The Taranaki community can play a key role in easing the pressure on the region’s hospitals by getting vaccinated, getting a RAT test and staying home if you feel unwell, good personal hygiene such as regular hand washing and coughing or sneezing into your elbow, wearing masks where necessary and social distancing.”

“Unfortunately, due to staff shortages, we are also using our planning to look at our non-acute and deferrable services and will be reducing activity in several areas to redirect capacity as needed.   Delivery of services will be assessed and scaled depending on bed and staff capacity and is likely to result in some health service cancellations.”

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