Hawke's Bay District Health Board is asking people to be prepared for their health needs during the Easter break and if care is needed, to get the right care from the right place.

Chief medical officer John Gommans said the community could take immediate steps to make sure they did not end up needing to find healthcare during the long weekend.

"Those who rely on prescription medicines should make sure they are up to date and won't run out.

"Early symptoms of illness should be treated by your doctor before the holiday period begins," Dr Gommans said.

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"People who come to Hawke's Bay Hospital's Emergency Department with minor injuries or illnesses will almost always have to wait longer - several hours in some cases - while more serious cases are correctly prioritised.

"A GP or Accident and Medical Centre can readily treat these injuries and illnesses in a timely manner."

Hawke's Bay people have increasing access to specialist care, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

The latest figures show a record number of patients received a medical or surgical First Specialist Assessment (FSA) last year.

Dr Coleman said 19,881 Hawke's Bay patients received a medical or surgical FSA in 2015 compared with 15,090 in 2009 - a 32 per cent increase.

FSAs cover more than 10 specific surgical services, including ophthalmology, ear nose and throat, and general surgery.

In Hawke's Bay the number of orthopaedic assessments increased by 56 per cent - from 1464 in 2009 to 2288 in 2015.

"While there's still more to be done, we are heading in the right direction," Dr Coleman said. "The answer to increased demand is to do more - whether it's assessments or operations.

"These improvements are a credit to our dedicated health workforce and are supported by the $400 million extra invested into health in Budget 2015."

That was supported by the $94 million funding increase Hawke's Bay DHB had received during the past seven years, Dr Coleman said.

That total included $18 million in new money for this year, taking the district health board's total funding to $489 million for 2015/2016. - NZME
Easter Weekend healthcare:

* If you need healthcare during the long weekend, these are the options:

* Healthline is available 24/7 on 0800 611 116 for free symptom assessment by a registered nurse, or go to the Our Health website (ourhealthhb.nz) for everything you need to know about health in Hawke's Bay.

* Accident and medical centres are open in Hastings and Napier during Easter and you can either find them on the Our Health website or phone 0800 33 88 99.