Whyalla hospital emergency department staff saw a higher number of people over the Christmas and New Year period. Pictured were nursing staff (back, from left) Trudy McLauchlan, Nicole Rotherham and (front) Abbey Bolton.Whyalla hospital staff received a higher number of people presenting to the emergency department during the Christmas and New Year period.
More than 50 people presented to Whyalla hospital’s ED on Christmas Day and more than 40 people on New Year’s Day.
Whyalla hospital director of nursing and midwifery Jim McMenemy said the daily average for the hospital’s emergency department was 31.
“Throughout the Christmas and New Year period we continued to see a steady number of people presenting to our emergency department,” Mr McMenemy said.
Mr McMenemy said data showed at least 10 patients presented to the hospital for non-urgent cases, prompting a reminder to community members to consider whether their medical situation was an emergency.
“Most Whyalla residents know that our ED is for emergencies and only present if they have an urgent medical condition, but sometimes people may come to our ED when they could be better cared for elsewhere,” Mr McMenemy said.
“People who are thinking of going to an ED, but are unsure if they need emergency care should call their GP for advice or visit the SA Health website, which has a list of afterhours and alternative health services.
“People should also ask themselves if their situation really is an emergency.”
Mr McMenemy said it was often already a tough day for hospital staff to be working on special days such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve without added workloads from non-emergency medical issues.
“Hospital EDs are busy places and it is vitally important that our doctors and nurses are free to respond to genuine emergencies,” Mr McMenemy said.
“If people are suffering with a cough, cold, minor ailment or are not sure if their condition requires emergency care, they should first seek advice from their local health provider,” Mr McMenemy said.
“This will ensure they receive the care they need while also helping to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on hospital doctors, nurses and allied health staff.”
Mr McMenemy said people would still receive medical care if required when they did attend ED, irrelevant of what the scale of severity their case was.
“All patients who present to an ED are seen as soon as possible and assessed by an experienced triage nurse and I would like to reassure the community that anyone who needs urgent, emergency care will always be seen as a priority,” Mr McMenemy said.
“People who need emergency care should always call 000 for assistance or alternatively travel directly to a hospital for treatment if they can safely do so.”
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