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Surgery cut in response to omicron

As new covid case numbers remain high across the region, the DHB is putting its response plan into action.

Cancelled surgeries and redeployed staff are just some of the contingency plans being deployed.

Wairarapa DHB chief executive Dale Oliff confirmed this week occupied hospital beds were nearing capacity.

In addition, a total of 95 planned surgeries had been cancelled at the hospital, although critical treatments were continuing.

The DHB did not provide information about the types of surgeries being cancelled but said urgent and non-deferrable surgery would still go ahead.

“We are continuing to provide all acute, cancer related and non-deferrable surgery. This includes clinics, procedures, and treatments such as chemotherapy,” Oliff said.

Masterton Hospital during lockdown. PHOTO/FILE

Of the 74 beds at Wairarapa hospital, 14 were available on Wednesday, although only seven in-patients were reported to be covid positive that day.

Oliff was unable to confirm if patients had been admitted as a result of their covid symptoms or were admitted for another reason but subsequently tested positive.

“For privacy reasons we are unable to comment on specific patient details. However, all patients are currently tested prior to admission,” she said.


The DHB has reorganised staffing to deal with a covid surge at the hospital.

“As part of our overall management of surge demand we have redeployed staff from non-critical areas to support the frontline response,” Oliff said.

Oliff said covid case numbers and the resulting impact on services were generally consistent with what had been expected, and trends aligned with modelling and forecasts.

“Like other DHBs, we have service plans in place to support safe staffing levels and ensure the continued provision of treatment and support for both covid and non-covid patients.


“As the covid-19 climate is changing and evolving, we continue to closely monitor the situation for a peak in the near future and plan and adapt accordingly,” she said.

Oliff reminded people vaccination was the best defence against the disease.

“If you are unable to make it into one of the many places vaccinating, you can call us and we will organise a home visit as soon as we can,” she said.

Oliff said the DHB had co-ordination plans in place to work with primary healthcare providers.

“The Wairarapa DHB is working closely with GP practices across the area to ensure anyone testing positive for covid-19 and needing medical and social welfare support is contacted for initial allocation within 24-48 hours.”

This meant the right GP surgery was notified for patient monitoring, and where needed, clinical support from the covid Care in the Community [CITC] hub.

“It is essential that we reduce the pressure on admissions to hospital as much as possible, so keeping people at home as much as we can is our aim both for their own comfort and to keep essential services running.

The CITC supports GP’s by being available to do regular support calls,” Oliff said.

It was important people were vaccinated and boosted and reported test results either online or by phoning the Ministry of Health [MoH] on 0800 222478.

The MoH could help people complete an online self-assessment tool. A local team call centre was available on 0800 829924 for advice, seven days a week.

Oliff said people with a local GP could call their surgery directly.

“Our resources are not limitless. If you are able to manage your health and social needs using your natural day to day supports, then you need to try to do this as much as you can, while maintaining the safety of your whanau.

Has your surgery been cancelled?

We would like to hear from you, send us an email to [email protected]


DHB’S covid plan – access denied


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