News and Notices

Save ED for Emergencies campaign launched

With the summer holiday season upon us and Emergency Departments at capacity, Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) is urging people with minor illnesses and injuries to use alternative services.

NMH has launched a campaign with the theme ‘123, where should I be’ to remind people to stop and think about which healthcare option is best for them.  

Rosey Wilson, Service Manager, Medical Services says extra pressure on our busy hospital  Emergency Departments stretches resources needed to  treat those experiencing urgent medical emergencies.

She says people with minor or non-urgent health complaints should see their GP, pharmacist or after hours medical centre.
“We have people coming in to ED with sprained ankles, sunburn, hay fever, run out of medication and other minor ailments, that while uncomfortable, are not life-threatening,” she says. “There’s also a belief that ED is the only place that can organise x-rays, but the Urgent Medical and Injury Centre in Nelson and the After Hours GP Service in Blenheim can refer patients for x-rays.”

Another unnecessary presentation at ED is for over indulgence, both in drugs and alcohol.  

Rosey says if fewer people with non-urgent needs go to ED, staff are able to attend to those who do require urgent care more quickly from the waiting room into hospital.
“ED’s primary purpose is to be available 24/7 to assess and manage emergency healthcare needs,” she says. “About 25 per cent of the time this will lead to a hospital admission, others receive a care management plan so that they are cared for by their GP or other primary healthcare practitioner.”

After-hours options available for people who require non-urgent medical treatment outside normal business hours can be found at

What are non-urgent health problems?
Soft tissue injuries, sprained ankles, minor cuts or injuries, coughs and colds or any and minor symptoms that would be better managed by a visit to your GP or After Hours Medical centre.

When to dial 111

For urgent medical attention dial 111 for an ambulance.  If you are not sure if it is an emergency you can call the free, 24 hour,  telephone health advice service, Healthline on 0800 611 116.

If it is not an emergency contact your GP or visit an after hours medical centre.  

You can see a pharmacist for advice on the emergency contraception pill, emergency supplies of ongoing prescription medicines and first aid.  

For dental concerns, call your local hospital for the contact details of the dentist on call for acute dental needs at the weekend.