Dunedin Hospital has run out of beds for patients.
About 18 of 32 people expecting to be admitted today were last night contacted by staff and told their procedures or surgery had been postponed because of the high number of unwell people who were unable to be discharged.
The hospital reaches “code black” status when it has fewer than six beds available.
Yesterday morning it had no free beds and, by mid-afternoon, 33 people waiting for treatment in the emergency department, Otago District Health Board operations manager Megan Boivin said.
There was one available bed at 8pm and 26 people waiting in the emergency department.
If no beds became available last night, those patients would stay overnight in the emergency department or an extra bed would be added in each ward.
There seemed to be no single reason for the high demand. People were presenting with a range of problems from traumas to infections and flu, she said.
Usually, there would be a drop-off in admissions during a weekend. This had not happened and the emergency department had also been consistently busy.
Another reminder that Labour pledged to take more tax and fix health but have kept only the first half of their promise.