Hospital plans for power outage
Phones and computers will be down at Nelson and Wairau Hospitals tomorrow morning when an electricity transformer is taken offline for urgent repairs.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board emergency planning officer Peter Kara said an oil leak was discovered at one of Nelson Hospital's transformers during a routine inspection in May.
The transformer could not be inspected safely while generator power was running in the area as the transformer was where the mains and generator power fed into the switchboard. It would need to be switched off for the inspection.
"A lot of planning has gone into the outage to ensure the least disruption as possible to patients and staff," he said.
The power cut will mean the PABX phone system will be offline from 8.30am until 12pm. All key staff will work with radios and cellphones, and phone calls to both Nelson and Wairau Hospitals will be transferred to an outside service before urgent calls can be connected to cellphones inside the hospital.
Computer servers at Wairau, Nelson Hospital, Murchison Hospital and Murchison Health Centre will go offline at 7.30am and come back online by 1pm. Staff working through remote access will also lose access to the servers.
Mr Kara said the hospital would install a new bypass switch, meaning a stand-alone generator would be used in the server room if the situation happened again.
The power supply at Wairau Hospital will not be affected, but the shutdown will mean that key parts of Nelson Hospital's laboratory and radiology areas will be without power or computer access for the morning.
DHB chief executive Chris Fleming said if there was a large-scale emergency, the power could be reconnected to these areas within 15 minutes.
Power will remain available to the emergency department, theatres, general wards, intensive care unit, maternity and special care baby unit.
Mr Fleming said the maintenance needed to be done, and he preferred to do it in a planned way rather than have the transformer fail unexpectedly. Diagnostic results could be delayed for patients in the emergency department, but those who needed clinical attention most would be seen first.
"We ask that people with injuries or illnesses that are not serious to use the nearest after-hours GP service for assessment and treatment."
WHO TO CALL
In an emergency: 111 For free 24-hour health advice: 0800 611 116 Nelson Medical and Injury Centre: 03 546 8881; 98 Waimea Rd Motueka: 0800 668 477 Golden Bay/Takaka: 03 525 9911
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