Patients surge through emergency doors during holidays
More than 3,600 patients came through the doors of Wide Bay emergency departments during the peak holiday period in what was a significant increase on the previous year, health service data has revealed.
WBHHS data has shown that in the 10 days from December 24, 2019 through to January 2, 2020, there were 1550 presentations to Bundaberg Hospital, 1370 presentations to Hervey Bay Hospital and 687 presentations to Maryborough Hospital.
At Bundaberg and Hervey Bay this represented a rise in average daily presentation numbers compared both to the daily averages for the 2019 calendar year and the previous Christmas holidays.
Maryborough Hospital had similar presentation numbers to the 2018-19 holiday season, but was also well above the daily average for 2019.
“Our three biggest emergency departments experienced busy holiday periods, with high presentation numbers that were well above normal daily activity,” WBHHS Acting Chief Executive Debbie Carroll said.
“The busiest day for all of our EDs was December 27, with 188 patients presenting at Bundaberg Hospital, 154 at Hervey Bay and 77 at Maryborough.
“This wasn’t unexpected, because we know the population of our region swells during the holidays due to relatives visiting for Christmas and tourists for the holidays, as well as the closure of many local primary health services for the break.
“However, overall our numbers were also up when compared to the previous Christmas, which indicates the ever-growing demand for our services.
“We would like to thank our residents and visitors for working with us and being patient at what has been a busy time for our staff at all our facilities.”
At Bundaberg Hospital, there were an average 155 presentations per day during the 2019-20 holiday period, compared to 143 per day during the same period in 2018-19 and 138 for the calendar year average.
At Hervey Bay Hospital, there were an average 137 presentations per day during the 2019-20 holiday period, compared to 133 per day during the same period in 2018-19 and 116 for the calendar year average.
At Maryborough Hospital there were an average of 69 presentations a day during the 2019-20 holiday period, compared to 70 per day during the same period in 2018-19 and 60 for the calendar year average.
Ms Carroll said although WBHHS was accustomed to planning for holiday peaks, it still took a significant clinical and coordination effort from staff to provide the best possible care to local and visiting patients.
“On behalf of our Executive and Board, I’d like to thank all our staff for their efforts throughout the Christmas and New Year period,” she said.
“It takes a whole-of-hospital effort to make sure our care and patient flow is exceptional, and without that our emergency department can’t function.
“While our community celebrates the festive season with loved ones, many of our staff across multiple disciplines are giving up time with their own families to continue to provide high-quality services to our patients.
“It’s their commitment to caring for their fellow community members and visitors to our region that means we can continue to provide consistently great care to patients throughout the holidays.”
Emergency department holiday presentations – the numbers
Hervey Bay Hospital
Total 2019/20 Christmas holiday presentations
2019/20 Christmas holiday average (rounded to nearest figure)
2019 calendar year daily average
Total 2018/19 Christmas holiday presentations
2018/19 Christmas holiday average