Hospitals well prepared for COVID-19 – Govt

Health workers take part in ICU training for Covid-19 at Hutt Hospital. Image: RNZ/Dom Thomas.

Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced, says Health Minister David Clark.

“Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” says David.

“At North Shore Hospital in Auckland, an entire building has been repurposed - their former Elective Surgery Centre – so that COVID-19 patients can be cared for separately from other patients.

“The North Shore Hospital, and many other hospitals, have also been using the time provided by the lockdown and the reduced number of elective surgeries to prepare staff.


“Most DHBs are at around 50 per cent occupancy, and they have taken the opportunity to run intensive theatre training sessions to upskill staff on how to manage the particular needs of COVID-19 patients.


“These extensive trainings and simulations run by intensive care specialists, mean that our doctors and nurses are ready to care for COVID-19 patients.

“North Shore Hospital have also doubled their intensive care capacity, as we know from overseas experience that COVID-19 outbreaks put particular pressure on ICU beds.

“Further down the North Island, at Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs, they are working with private providers to ensure that non-deferrable elective surgery can continue. These include some cancer and cardiothoracic surgeries.

“Facilities are also being adapted across both DHBs to assist with any escalation in the care provided. For example, at Capital and Coast DHB they have created special spaces for COVID-19 with the ability to change bed numbers, depending on demand.”

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