If I was in charge of this country one of the first things I would do is build more hospitals.

In the past few months I have had cause to be at the Emergency Department twice. The last time was on Sunday and it was just overflowing.

The waiting room was crowded, the staff were rushed off their feet. It was so bad that they called a Code Red over the intercom because the ED was over capacity.

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There have been constant ads on the radio this week about the hospital being at capacity and asking people to visit their GPs or other health providers unless it was an emergency.
We all know why people go to the ED instead of their GP, especially on the weekends.

The cost. For some a visit to the doctor means they can't afford to buy food or pay their rent.

The population of Hawke's Bay has exploded over the past few years. You only need to drive down the main streets in our twin cities at any time of the day to see that.

Monday used to be a quiet day in town. In fact many businesses especially those that are open all weekend close on a Monday so staff get a break. It's always been thought of as one of the slowest days of the week.

It certainly didn't look quiet to me when I was out and about on Monday. There was traffic everywhere. It was a bit easier to get a park but the traffic was just unbelievable especially around the supermarkets.

Back to the hospital — hopefully things will ease a bit once the cold and flu season is over. It seems to be sweeping through the region at the moment if our office is anything to go by.

Even though the hospital staff were really busy the ones we dealt with didn't make us feel like they were rushing to get from us to someone else. Yes, we had a long wait but when we were seen staff were kind, considerate, professional and thorough.

The Friends of the Hospital who volunteer their time making tea and coffee for patients and supporters also deserve a mention — there are just delightful.

They deserve a huge shoutout for the kindness and care they show to everyone they deal with.

And as for the nurses - well they deserve every jolly cent of their pay rise.

In the main hospital it's just as busy. Hopefully when the weather warms up their workload will ease somewhat. But what happens next winter?

We really need to look to the future now rather than later because people can't work like that under so much pressure forever. Sooner or later something will break and then there will be a huge inquiry into why it broke.

The time for action is now.

Now on an entirely different subject. While I was out and about in town on Monday I registered my car.

It's a lot cheaper these days then it was a couple of years back thank goodness but when I was asked for $80.01 to register it for a year I was rather surprised.

One cent? But surely there is no such thing as one cent. The person who took my payment via eftpos said: " I guess all those one cents add up."

But what if you were paying cash? You actually can't physically hand over one cent or two or three or four or five or six or seven or even eight or nine. All the cents might add up but this makes absolutely no sense to me.

*Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.