Hawke's Bay Hospital is at capacity, and unless it's an emergency, people are asked to seek medical care from their family doctor, medical centre, pharmacy or to call Healthline.

Chief Medical and Dental Officer, John Gommans said the hospital had been busy for a number of days with patients presenting with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.

Dr Gommans said people presenting with minor injuries or illnesses, such as colds, could expect to wait for a long time as the Emergency Department prioritised patients needing urgent care.

"Emergency Department clinicians are highly trained in emergency care - caring for people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. We are asking people to Choose Well when they are thinking about where to go for care. The Emergency Department is the place to go for life threatening and urgent treatment."


Pressure on the hospital was expected to remain until after the weekend.

Mark Peterson Chief Medical Officer primary care and Napier GP said GPs were also busy, however he encouraged people to make an appointment with their family doctor before they got so sick that they needed hospital care, or they could call Healthline 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24 hours a day.

Dr Peterson said now was the time for people to have the flu vaccine before winter really hit.

"The flu vaccine is free for many people, and is especially important for pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses so they can be protected themselves from the flu viruses circulating."

For more information on where to find a family doctor and other health information people could check www.ourhealthhb.nz, which provided health information specifically for Hawke's Bay people.