Ipswich ED staff brace for Boxing Day stampede

IPSWICH'S dedicated doctors and nurses are preparing for a hectic holiday period and asking residents to celebrate sensibly after last year's festivities ended in the Emergency Department for hundreds of people.

Figures show Boxing Day 2015 was one of the busiest days of the year in the Ipswich Hospital ED.

On December 26 last year, 206 patients went to the ED - compared with 170 on an average day - and 57 were admitted to hospital for further treatment.

Last Christmas Day 162 patients went through the ED and 45 of these were admitted to hospital for further treatment.

Ankle sprains, minor head injuries, asthma, urinary tract infections, low blood pressure, pneumonia, rashes and chest pain were the most common diagnoses during the last festive season.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service chief executive Sue McKee encouraged residents to celebrate safely by moderating their alcohol intake and not drinking and driving.

She reminded adults to supervise children taking new bicycles and scooters for a spin, ensuring they wore protective gear, and to follow instructions when testing new appliances and power tools.

Staying cool should also be a priority as Ipswich swelters through a scorching summer.

"Keep hydrated with plenty of water, wear protective clothes and sunscreen especially on very hot days," Ms McKee said.

"Keep an eye on loved ones and neighbours who live on their own to make sure they're okay during the hotter days."

Ms McKee said the ED was for potential life or limb threatening conditions and emergencies and severe illnesses would take priority over more minor complaints.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Chris Zappala said people drinking more alcohol and taking more risks contributed to busy EDs during the festive season.

"They do more adventurous things at this time of year and come a cropper," he said.

Dr Zappala said using commonsense and not drinking to excess would reduce the chances of a Christmas trip to hospital.

He also urged residents to remember family members and people in the community who were disadvantaged or ostracised at Christmas.

Dr Zappala thanked the ED staff who would be working this Christmas and taking time out from their families.

"A huge thank you to those individuals who help us all when we get into scrapes in the holiday season," he said.

People with non-urgent conditions are encouraged to see a GP or go to a pharmacy for assistance. In an emergency, phone 000 and ask for an ambulance. If you are unsure whether you need to go to an ED, phone 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.

HEALTHY HOLIDAYS

  • Ensure you have enough medication to last over public holidays.
  • Keep hydrated and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
  • Wash your hands and dry thoroughly before handling any food.
  • Don't risk food poisoning by eating dodgy leftovers. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Supervise children around pools, dams and at the beach.
  • Keep batteries out of reach of children.
  • Look out for friends, family and neighbours who might need help.

ARM NEWSDESK



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