Emergency Department

​Welcome to Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department (ED) website.

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The ED was one of the first to be established in Australasia and sees 84,000 patients annually, of which on average 48% get admitted.  We are one of the busiest ED's in Australasia and are the sole ED for a population catchment of 500,000 people. We act as the acute access point for all tertiary care in the Canterbury region, including aeromedical transfers from other parts of New Zealand, especially from the South Island.

Ambulance bay with doors open.jpgChristchurch Hospital is a 650+ bed institution with full tertiary care facilities. It is one of eleven hospitals administered by Canterbury District Health Board. All major specialties are represented on-site, with the exception of Mental Health. Hospital inpatient occupancy rate generally runs between 90-95%.

The hospital has several acute admitting areas for adults and children to which the ED staff can directly refer patients to following set guidelines.

Department Physical Organisation

The ED completed a reconfiguration in 2008. The department is now a 55 bedded area which is geographically divided into functional areas:

  • Work Up (WU) - 15 bays, including 4 separate isolation rooms. For patients who require 'work up' by ED or other speciality teams. Length of stay approximately 4-6 hours.
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  • Ambulatory - 5 bays, plus dedicated rooms for dental and eye conditions. For patients requiring minor interventions, who may or may not be admitted.
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  • Monitored / Resuscitation / Trauma - 10 monitored bays, 9 resuscitation bays and 1 trauma room. For patients requiring higher levels of monitoring or intervention.
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  • Emergency Observation Unit (ED Obs) - 10 beds. For patients who require short term observation under the care of the ED team. Length of stay expectancy is 90% of patients to be discharged within 8 hours or overnight.

Hospital High Dependency Facilities

High dependency care is represented by:

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  • Coronary Care (CCU) – 9 beds
  • Cardio-Thoracic ICU (CICU) – 6 beds
  • Trauma Unit – 5 beds
  • Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU) – 15 beds
  • Hyperbaric Unit
  • Neonatal ICU 37 cots with 9 for intensive care and 28 for level 1 and 2 patients
  • Other high dependency facilities include Surgical, Medical, Burns, Dialysis and Paediatrics. 

Core Business

The core business of the ED is to ensure:

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    • Resuscitation, stabilisation or assessment to determine stability
  • Patient Comfort
    • Reassurance, analgesia and other interventions to relieve symptoms
  • Appropriate Patient Disposition
    • Assessment and interventions so that the patient may be discharged appropriately, or admitted to a service which seems most appropriate, based on the information available

Clinical Pathways

Clinical pathways are used widely by the medical and nursing staff. They are used to guide care and optimise treatment and include the use of nurse initiated treatments such as pain relief and nurse initiated investigations such as blood testing and x-rays. The pathways are linked with inpatient pathways and with GP clinical pathways to enable care to be streamlined to enable continuity from past to present and future care.​

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Related Documents

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Page last reviewed: 07 June 2016