We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework.  Protect yourself and our community by getting boosted, wearing a mask when out and about and reducing contact with others. Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

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“Contact your general practice team first” is the message from clinicians as we head into winter

Tuesday 31 May 2022Health news3 minutes to read

In response to a significant demand for health care services, West Coasters are being asked to contact their general practice team first to discuss available options before turning up.

West Coast DHB’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Graham Roper says that with winter on our doorstep, we are starting to see an increase in demand for unplanned care services which is adding additional pressures to our services.

“Your general practice or healthcare provider should be your first port of call if your health issue is not an emergency. Please plan ahead as much as possible for your routine health care, and book early. Your usual healthcare provider will offer some urgent appointments when required.

If you present at Te Nīkau Hospital’s Urgent Care clinic for a non-emergency condition, you are likely to experience a long wait to be seen as we need to triage everyone presenting to ensure those in the greatest need, with life-threatening conditions are seen first.”

“Across the system, we are also currently experiencing sustained high levels of acute demand which has resulted in more people needing to be admitted to hospital for on-going care. This in turn is starting to have a direct impact on the amount of planned care such as surgery and procedures we can provide,” says Dr Roper.

If you are feeling unwell with any condition, you can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7 or your general practice team to discuss your situation and symptoms rather than visiting in person. This will ensure that you get to access appropriate treatment and medication to help you stay well, even if you are at home isolating.

For more information: Find a GP, medical practice, clinic or health centre | West Coast DHB (

If you’re worried about yourself, or someone in your whānau who has a respiratory illness, see the checklist here of symptoms to watch out for, and when you should seek medical advice.

Remember, it’s important to seek immediate help in an emergency – don’t delay.  If you are injured or experiencing severe symptoms, it’s critical that you call 111.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses like influenza, it is important that people keep up the healthy habits:

  • Wearing masks in all indoor settings
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Practising good hygiene by regularly and thoroughly washing or sanitising your hands
  • Opening windows and doors to increase ventilation wherever possible
  • Staying home if you’re unwell
  • Taking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you are a close household contact of a positive case
  • Reporting your test results – positive and negative on My COVID Record (
  • Ensuring all your immunisations are up to date – including your flu immunisation and COVID-19 booster.

Visitor restrictions for all DHB facilities can be viewed online: Visitors and family | West Coast DHB (



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Page last updated: 31 May 2022

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