Don’t neglect potentially serious health conditions because of concerns around COVID-19
That’s the message from Taranaki DHB (TDHB) who is encouraging people to continue accessing medical
services as required for treatment of non-COVID related issues.
TDHB’s Incident Management Team controller, Becky Jenkins says “We are concerned people may not be
accessing care when they need it due to the fear of being infected with COVID-19. But medical services in
Taranaki are still open for business and there are many ways people can be treated safely.”
Since the COVID-19 lock down TDHB has seen a significant reduction in the number of patients’ presenting to
the Emergency Department and a reduction to both Base and Hawera hospitals compared to this time last
The change in presentations is seen across all specialties from trauma through to medical admissions,
including cardiac and respiratory conditions.
Ms Jenkins urges people to seek the level of care that is appropriate for their needs.
“GPs are open for business, but changing the way they see patients. Many are offering phone and video
consultations at this time. Local pharmacies are open for business but phone them first to ensure you are able to go in-store.
“For emergencies, people shouldn’t hesitate to call 111 or present at our emergency departments. Our teams
are there to provide care and that doesn’t change because we are in the lockdown or facing Alert Level 3
“This message is particularly important for our older people, who often don’t like to make a fuss. The sooner we are able to intervene, the better your health outcome will usually be, so do continue accessing medical services as required for treatment of non-COVID related issues including contacting your GP.
“The DHB will be triaging people on arrival for treatment in order to keep those who are under suspicion for
COVID-19 away from other patients, and we are using appropriate personal protective equipment as guided by the Ministry of Health.
Taranaki parents and caregivers are also being reminded to keep their child’s immunisations up to date. This
can be done during all stages of lockdown. If your child is due to be immunised, please contact your GP.
“These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures.
We recognise that other health concerns continue on around us and the provision of care for everyone needs to be timely and safe,” says Ms Jenkins.