Media advisory #36 Hospital and health services here for you


21 May 2020


Whanganui District Health Board is urging unwell people to seek the health care they need, without delay.


WDHB Chief Medical Officer Dr Ian Murphy says Whanganui Hospital, general practices and other health providers in the region want people to feel confident that they are safe to seek the healthcare they need.


During the COVID-19 response, Whanganui Hospital continued to treat people who were urgently unwell and since the beginning of May 2020, elective (planned) surgeries, procedures and outpatient appointments have been re-booked and will continue to be scheduled.


“We know this has been a stressful and uncertain time and that people continue to have some anxiety about the spread of COVID-19, but Whanganui Hospital, general practices and other health providers are taking precautions to keep patients as safe as possible.


“We want people to contact their GP if they are unwell, to attend health appointments or if they are seriously ill, to come to the Emergency Department at the hospital,” says Dr Murphy.


“We have no current cases of COVID-19 in the Whanganui region and the nine people who have had COVID-19 have recovered and followed self-isolation restrictions during their recovery period,” says Dr Murphy.


There have been no cases of COVID-19 in Whanganui Hospital.


Dr Murphy says despite there being no cases locally, staff continue to ask patients health-related questions to see if they may need to be assessed for COVID-19 and are using personal protective equipment and infection control measures where appropriate.


“General practices and pharmacies will be physically operating differently to meet the requirements of Alert Level 2 with most practices still using a balance of phone, virtual consults and face-to-face consultations. Please contact your general practice in the first instance to see how they best can help you.”


If you have flu-like symptoms and would like to be tested for COVID-19, please attend the community based assessment centre on the Whanganui Hospital campus – open 8am to 5pm, seven days a week -  or, if you are already booked to visit your general practice, phone ahead to see if you are able to get a COVID-19 test.


“As our community begins to recover from the lockdown, from a health, social and economic perspective, one of the important things is for people to feel supported to be physically and mentally well so they can get back to doing normal things in their lives,” says Dr Murphy.