Hospital visitors don’t need a COVID-19 Vaccine Pass, but do need to scan in. See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

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Health advice following West Coast Floods – Update 4

Tuesday 20 July 2021Health news6 minutes to read

Tuesday 20 July 2021 – 6.00pm

Please attribute comment to Philip Wheble, Incident Controller, West Coast DHB 


Progress is being made on the clean-up and drying of Buller Health and the Boilerhouse.

Now that the water in the tunnel under the hospital has been pumped out by FENZ it’s become evident that the eight pumps in the tunnels will need replacing along with electrical cabling and switch gear. There is still some water seeping into the tunnels which run under Buller Health and we are managing to keep up with the flow and pump this out.

The fridge and freezer in the Buller Health kitchen also need to be replaced, so while we were hopeful to have everything back up and running by next Monday, the reality is it may take a bit longer.

With regard to the Boilerhouse, which heats the health centre and generates hot water, parts are being sought and we are grateful to our own staff, FENZ and contractors who are being brought on board to help speed up this repair job.  Parts are coming from Auckland and Christchurch to help get things up and running as soon as possible. 

We will keep the community updated on progress.

There are currently two patients being cared for in the makeshift ward facility at Club Buller. Acutely unwell people are being diverted direct to Te Nīkau Hospital in Greymouth.

Keep up your good hygiene habits and remember to scan in wherever you are

With many people still in makeshift accommodation, bunking in with whānau and friends, or living in close quarters in a welfare centre, the need for scrupulous hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, disposing of tissues in a bin and staying away from others if you’re feeling under the weather is so important.

Washing and drying your hands or using hand gel is essential:

  • after using the toilet
  • before eating
  • after coughing or sneezing into your hand
  • after coming into contact with flood water
  • after handling items sodden by the floods

If you have a cough or cold please wear a mask or face covering when around other people.

And if you start feeling worse please seek medical attention sooner rather than later.

Finally, please keep scanning in wherever you go, particularly to places where large numbers of people are gathering.

A shout out to the NZ Defence force and Red Cross collaborating to ensure Meals on Wheels are still delivered to those in need

Special thanks to the army cooks and our remarkable Red Cross volunteers who have teamed up to ensure those in need in our community can still enjoy a fresh meal.

Army personnel stepped in on Tuesday to help out and have been cooking up a treat for a number of older people who are still in their own homes.  Yesterday 53 hot meals were delivered, 37 went out today and tomorrow 51 people will be enjoying tasty cuisine from the army team, delivered with care by our Red Cross volunteers.  

Each recipient receives a fresh nourishing meal and pudding.

Once the DHB kitchen at Buller Health is back up and running the WellFood team look forward to continuing to cook for our Meals on Wheels recipients.

Need health care?

If you are registered with Coast Medical, they are still open

Please contact the Coast Medical team on 03 789 5000 to arrange an appointment, and after-hours call the usual practice number for free health advice. After hours you’ll be put through to a nurse who can tell you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.

If you or your whānau are registered with Buller Medical Centre and need to see a doctor or nurse a pop-up drop-in Urgent Care clinic has opened at 51 Russell Street, Westport. No appointments are necessary and everyone is welcome. If you have any respiratory symptoms please wear a mask or face covering.

The drop-in clinic is staffed by a GP and nurses and is open from 10am – 4.30pm until Friday and will also be open from 10am – 1pm this Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th.

*Note the entrance to the clinic is at the rear of the building so please use the driveway on the left-hand side of the building (next to the Salvation Army hall).

People enrolled at Buller Medical can still access free health advice after hours by calling 03 788 9277 and following the instructions on the answerphone.

If it’s an emergency, please call 111 – emergency services are operating

For health advice at any time

  • Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 – calls are answered 24/7.

If you need to be seen, they will tell you what to do and where to go.

  • For wellbeing support you can talk to a counsellor free of charge, call or text 1737 any time of the day or night.
  • For pregnancy support and advice over the phone, please call your LMC/midwife.
  • If you have questions about your young child or baby’s health phone Plunketline on 0800 933 922 to speak to a Plunket nurse.
  • You can also visit our HealthInfo website for trusted health advice on a range of issues.
  • Buller Pharmacy in Westport, at 168 Palmerston Street is open for over the counter medications and health advice.

Information for people with outpatient appointments at Buller Health or GP appointments at Buller Medical (the primary care practice) this week

  • If you have a pre-booked appointment with a GP or nurse at Buller Medical or an outpatient appointment at Buller Heath this week please consider it postponed – unless you hear otherwise.
  • A limited number of outpatient appointments are going ahead at an alternative location, and anyone affected will be contacted directly.
  • Please note that there is no X-Ray facility at Buller Health this week.
  • If you need an urgent blood test or repeat prescriptions please visit the temporary Urgent Care clinic.

 Before school checks postponed – West Coast B4School Check (B4SC) Clinic update

Our B4SC clinic planned for Wednesday, 28 July in Westport’s Salvation Army Hall has been postponed until Wednesday, 25 August.

Wellbeing support  

In-person support is available via the welfare teams going out with the housing inspectors, as well as at the Hub in the NBS Theatre – please make the most of all the support options available to you at this time.  Your general practice team is also available and you can text or phone 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor 24/7.

Visitor restrictions

We currently have visitor restrictions in place to help prevent the spread of illness at all DHB facilities. We are requesting that only one person at a time comes in to visit, and that no children come in to visit our facilities. Exceptions will be made on compassionate grounds and should be discussed with the nurse in charge of the area you want to visit.

We’re recommending people wear a mask or other face covering (it can be a fabric mask or scarf but must cover your nose and mouth) when visiting family, whānau or friends at our facilities. We also ask that people only visit our facilities for essential purposes only and stay home if they are unwell.


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Page last updated: 20 July 2021

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