Friday 23 July 2021Health news8 minutes to read
Friday 23 July 2021 – 6.00pm
Please attribute comment to Philip Wheble, Incident Controller, West Coast DHB
This past week has been extremely challenging for the people of Buller. The coordinated efforts of emergency services, Civil Defence Emergency Management and our own staff have been nothing short of remarkable.
I am not going to mention individuals, but to the team on duty at Buller Health on Saturday night who moved swiftly, but safely to evacuate and re-home patients, this was an amazing feat.
The NZ Defence Force and Fire and Emergency NZ played vital roles in supporting our services – thanks to both these teams.
Special thanks to Club Buller for allowing us to continue to take over their facility as a makeshift medical ward. Thank you too to the Masonic Lodge for allowing us to set up shop in their stunning building at 51 Russell Street, and repurpose it from a vaccination centre to a drop-in general practice facility.
As we operate as an integrated health system, I also want to acknowledge the professionalism (and extremely long hours) of those working in other areas of the West Coast health system, including our PHO colleagues, St John, Red Cross, the team at Te Nīkau in Greymouth and our colleagues in Canterbury who have all pitched in to support our Buller whānau.
As the largest employer on the West Coast many of our people have been personally impacted by the flood, and despite this they have put their own needs on the back-burner to ensure health services have continued to be provided in Buller.
I hope this weekend will provide many of you a chance to catch your breath, take stock, and catch up on some sleep. I know the reality for many of our Buller team will be more work cleaning out damaged properties and making plans for the future. If you can, please schedule some down time and do something for yourself with people you care about.
Please remember we’re all in this together and it’s ok to seek support if you’re not feeling alright. There is a lot of help and wellbeing support available, so please don’t be hesitant in coming forward and asking for help.
Be kind to yourself and others.
You can call 0800 768 348 to access help and advice from the response team. Call to be connected to welfare advice or answers to any questions you may have about the recovery efforts.
The weeks ahead will continue to be challenging so thank you in advance for everyone’s contribution to the recovery efforts.
Progress continues on the clean-up and drying of Buller Health and the Boilerhouse. One boiler is now up-and-running with the second expected to be functioning by Sunday.
Work is continuing on the cabling and heating ducts within the hospital
The Hospital kitchen will be functional from Monday 26 July and as yet we don’t have a firm date when health services will be able to move back to the facility.
We will, however, keep the community updated on progress.
There is currently one patient being cared for in the makeshift ward facility at Club Buller. Acutely unwell people continue to be diverted to Te Nīkau Hospital in Greymouth.
Meals on Wheels
Thank you to the New Zealand Army for stepping in this week to ensure we could continue to provide fresh nourishing Meals on Wheels to recipients in our community.
With access to the hospital kitchen from Monday, our WellFood team will be able to resume responsibility for this service along with our valued Red Cross volunteers who continue to deliver to recipients.
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:
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.
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 this weekend from 10am – 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. The drop in clinic at 51 Russell Street will also be open next week from 10am – 4:30pm.
*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 you usually receive home support from any of our home-based care services and haven’t heard from us, please get in touch via the usual phone number(s) if you require any support.
If it’s an emergency, please call 111 – emergency services are operating
For health advice at any time
Information for people with outpatient appointments at Buller Health or GP appointments at Buller Medical (the primary care practice) next week
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.
This week has been an emotional rollercoaster for many of us. Please remember it’s ok to ask for help. In-person support is available via the welfare teams 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.
Please remember to keep checking in on those around you – we cope better together than alone.
You can access local welfare and wellbeing support, along with practical advice by calling 0800 768 348.
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.
Page last updated: 23 July 2021
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