Don't neglect potentially serious health conditions because of concerns around Covid-19, the Taranaki District Health Board says.
TDHB is encouraging people to continue accessing medical services as required for treatment of non Covid-related issues.
TDHB's incident management team controller, Becky Jenkins says TDHB is concerned people may not be accessing care when they need it due to the fear of being infected with Covid-19.
"But medical services in Taranaki are still open for business and there are many ways people can be treated safely."
Since the Covid-19 lock down, TDHB has had a significant reduction in the number of patients presenting to the Emergency Department and a reduction to both Taranaki Base and Hāwera hospitals compared to this time last year.
The change in presentations is across all specialities from trauma through to medical admissions, including cardiac and respiratory conditions.
Becky urges people to seek appropriate care.
"GPs are open for business, but changing the way they see patients. Many are offering phone and video consultations at this time. Local pharmacies are open for business but phone them first to ensure you are able to go in-store.
"For emergencies, people shouldn't hesitate to call 111 or present at our emergency departments. Our teams are there to provide care and that doesn't change because we are in the lockdown or facing Alert Level 3 restrictions.
She says this message is particularly important for our older people, who often don't like to make a fuss.
"The sooner we are able to intervene, the better your health outcome will usually be, so do continue accessing medical services as required for treatment of non-COVID related issues including contacting your GP.
"The DHB will be triaging people on arrival for treatment in order to keep those who are under suspicion for Covid-19 away from other patients, and we are using appropriate personal protective equipment as guided by the Ministry of Health."
She says Taranaki parents and caregivers are also being reminded to keep their child's immunisations up to date. This can be done during all stages of lockdown. If your child is due to be immunised, please contact your GP.
"These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures. We recognise that other health concerns continue on around us and the provision of care for everyone needs to be timely and safe."