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 Doctors and nurses urge people to make responsible choices over the festive season

Celebrate responsibly to avoid hospital EDs

December 2018

Doctors and nurses urge people to make responsible choices over the festive season

 Doctors and nurses urge people to make responsible choices over the festive season

Emergency Department doctors and nurses in Sydney Local Health District are urging everyone in the community to enjoy the festive season with their families, but to act responsibly.

“I think the message is to try and make good choices,” Dr James Edwards, who oversees the running of the busy emergency department at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said.

There are about 70,000 presentations to the ED at RPA each year – and there’s often a rise in the number of presentations during the Christmas and New Year period.

A visit to the ED isn’t what anyone’s family would wish for over the holiday break.

“One of the most common things we see is incidents and accidents associated with alcohol. I think all of us enjoy celebrating over Christmas. I think in my professional experience… sometimes people make bad decisions after drinking too much,” Dr Edwards said.

“So, everyone have a great time over Christmas, enjoy yourself, but be responsible.”

The Nursing Unit Manager of the Emergency Department at Canterbury Hospital, Lindy Collins, also wants parents to keep a watchful eye on babies and toddlers who often end up in hospital during this time.

“I know when you’re having fun and celebrating it can be easy to let them slip out of your sight.

“Zero to four-year-olds are one of the age groups we see [most frequently] in ED having accidents and getting injured over the Christmas period,” Ms Collins said.

Doctors and nurses treat adults and children in Canterbury’s ED for a range of injuries including burns, lacerations, broken bones, bruises, and head injuries.

At Balmain hospital, a General Practice Casualty (GPC) service provides urgent treatment for minor injuries, illnesses and other health problems usually treated by a GP.

“Many GPs are closed over the Christmas period but we’re open if you need us,” Nicole Stromsmoe, hospital’s Nursing Unit Manager, said. Balmain GPC is open from 8am to 10pm every day of the year.

“The most common type of presentations we see is GP-type presentations so acute injuries and illnesses that you would normally go to your doctor for. Anything more urgent though, like chest pain or serious injury, we encourage you to call an ambulance or go to the nearest Emergency Department,” she said.

Many doctors and nurses will spend Christmas day at work across the District caring for their community rather than celebrating with their families and friends.

“We have a lot of dedicated staff who’ll be here Christmas Day and everyday over the summer period, working hard to keep everyone in the community safe,” Ms Collins said.

“A big thank you to all those people. I know it’s the time of year where they’d prefer to be at home with family but they always come in with a smile of their face,” she said.

All NSW hospital emergency departments will operate as usual throughout the holiday period.

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