Choose the right healthcare for you and your whanau these school holidays
29 June 2023
If you or your whānau are unwell or injured, we want to help you get the right care in the right place. That’s the message from Therese Manning, Emergency Department (ED) clinical nurse manager at Te Whatu Ora in Taranaki.
Winter, particularly during the school holidays, is a time when Taranaki hospitals come under increasing pressure due to injuries, influenza (flu) and other respiratory illnesses that are common during the colder months.
“We’re asking our community to focus on looking after their health and wellbeing, prevent the spread of winter illnesses, and to be aware of the range of healthcare options available to them in the community for non-urgent health concerns.
“By non-urgent, we mean coughs, colds, fevers, earaches, strains, sprains and cuts. Basically, a range of injuries and symptoms that would be better managed at home, or by the community-based healthcare services available,“ says Mrs Manning.
These include Healthify (formerly known as Health Navigator), a fantastic website for anyone looking for free, easy to understand information and tips on treating common health conditions, or advice on when to seek more help.
If you’d like to speak to a health professional if you or your whānau become unwell, call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116. Nurses, paramedics, and doctors are available 24/7 for free medical advice. You can choose to speak with a Māori clinician if you’re calling between 8am - 8pm. Interpreter services and NZ Relay support are also available.
Community pharmacies are another great option for health advice on common health issues and medications. These include coughs and colds, bladder infections, eye infections, minor cuts and grazes, the emergency contraceptive pill and a range of other health needs.
The next option is booking an appointment with your general practitioner (GP) or Māori healthcare provider. They are the best option for your non-urgent, long-term health issues as they can provide ongoing care appropriate to your specific needs.
Children under 14 receive free healthcare; a Community Services card can lower the cost of some health services and prescriptions for people 14 and over.
For out of hours or urgent treatment when your GP isn’t available, there are several urgent care clinics in Taranaki. These include Medicross and Carefirst (Westown) in New Plymouth, and South Taranaki Rural Health General Practice (the Practice) in Hāwera. You do not need to be enrolled at these clinics to access their services.
To find pharmacies, GPs and urgent care clinics open near you, visit the Healthpoint website. This website also provides information on practices in the region currently enrolling new patients.
Got no data or wifi? No problem. Healthify, Healthpoint and other essential health and wellbeing websites can be accessed for free by visiting Zero.govt.nz. This site provides shielded access so people can search information without it showing up in their internet browser history.
To help stay well, people are also encouraged to get their COVID-19 booster, their flu vaccine and make sure their tamariki are up to date with their childhood vaccines. Book your flu and COVID-19 vaccines now at www.BookMyVaccine.co.nz, or contact your GP, pharmacy or healthcare provider.
For COVID-19 support and advice call the Taranaki COVID Hub on 0508 436 374.
“Of course, it is very important that people experiencing an emergency call 111 for an ambulance, or go to the closest ED. But we thank the Taranaki community for knowing their healthcare options and continuing to choose the right service for their non-urgent health needs,” adds Mrs Manning.
Therese Manning, Emergency Department (ED) clinical nurse manager at Te Whatu Ora - Taranaki, outside the Emergency Department at Taranaki Base Hospital.
Last updated: Monday, July 3, 2023