By Finn Blackwell of RNZ
With a large surge of winter illness sweeping Auckland, GPs in South Auckland are offering free doctors' visits this weekend and next.
A patient died at Middlemore Hospital this week after earlier leaving the emergency department due to long wait times.
There has been a record number of people turning up to seek treatment at Middlemore Hospital this week.
Influenza has far surpassed Covid as the leading cause of respiratory-related hospitalisation in Tāmaki Makaurau, with Counties Manukau being particularly hard hit.
To help ease the pressure, GPs are offering free appointments and free pain-relief drugs for children without a prescription until the end of next weekend.
Counties Manukau Health chief executive Pete Watson said the move is a crucial one.
"We know many of those GPs and nurses who are putting their hands up to help over the next two weekends are already very busy with the winter surge, and we're incredibly grateful for their support," he said in a statement.
Dr Watson encouraged those feeling unwell at home to use Healthline if they had further questions.
The free appointments apply from 5pm on Friday, June 17 through to 7am on Monday, June 20 and 5pm on Thursday, June 23 through to 7am on Monday, June 29. They may be extended if needed.
More information is on the regional health website.