Health Minister Tony Ryall says the entire health service, both public and private, is pulling together to support Canterbury following yesterday's earthquake.
"The teams in Christchurch are doing an incredible job. Once again, we are seeing New Zealand's health professionals at their best.
"Christchurch hospital has had more than 200 patients with major traumas. Staff have been performing field amputations to free people from where they have been trapped.
"Patients are being transferred to other hospitals around the country, including seven intensive care unit patients, while specialist staff are arriving from outside the region to help.
Ambulances from around the South Island, including five from the defence force base at Burnham, are being used in Christchurch. Paramedics have come in from several regions including Auckland and Wellington.
"I have been advised that primary care is coping well, and private hospitals have provided x-ray and surgery to help out. There are also triage centres set up around the city to help take the pressure off. The triage centres are at:
- Latimer Square
- Sanitarium Factory, Papanui
- Spotlight mall Beckenham
- Bealey Avenue 24 hour medical centre
- The Princess Margaret Hospital
- Christchurch Hospital.
"A number of rest homes have been badly affected, and the Ministry of Health is looking for alternative beds for around 200 elderly people.
The Minister expressed his strong appreciation to health staff throughout the country for their commitment and support.