Whakatāne Hospital emergency department (ED) has seen sudden spikes in patient numbers with multiple 100-plus days in recent weeks.

"We've had some significant spikes in attendances recently where we have experienced a number of days around the 100-patient mark," ED clinical lead Tamsin Davies said.

The average daily figure in 2018 was 60.

Davies sent out a renewed call for those who did not need emergency treatment to keep the department for those who did.

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"We would like people to ask themselves whether they really need to see an emergency doctor before coming. Those that do not need to be in ED will face significant waits as there are a lot of sick people coming through the doors at present who do, and they will get priority."

She said the winter-type illnesses currently circulating were not only having an impact on patient numbers but also meant many hospital staff were off work sick.

"We are seeing a lot of very unwell patients but there are also those presenting to us that would be more appropriately treated by a GP or pharmacist. Those additional patients each day who do not need to be in ED can put a real strain on staff."

Other healthcare options for non-emergency situations
• Visit your family doctor (GP)
• Visit your local pharmacy
• Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free advice and information from a trusted health professional
• Call your GP for advice or information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your call will be answered by a healthcare professional who will give you the advice you need

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