Holiday spike in emergency presentations across the Wide Bay
More than 3,800 patients came through the doors of Wide Bay emergency departments during the peak holiday period in what was a solid increase on the previous year, health service data has revealed.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service data shows that in the 10 days from December 24, 2020 through to January 2, 2021, some 3,844 patients presented to local emergency departments, compared to 3,607 for the same period in 2019-2020.
A breakdown by hospital indicates this number was made up of 1,553 presentations to Hervey Bay Hospital, 1,549 presentations to Bundaberg Hospital and 742 presentations to Maryborough Hospital.
“Our emergency departments at Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough experienced busy holiday periods, with high presentation numbers that were well above their normal daily activity,” WBHHS Chief Executive Debbie Carroll said.
“Our teams were well prepared to handle the increased numbers, which are always expected at this time of year due both to the closure of many local primary health services for the break and the population of our region swelling as relatives and tourists visit.
“That said, the number of presentations were just under 7% higher than the previous Christmas period, which reflects the ever-growing demand for our services each year.”
Hervey Bay and Bundaberg hospitals both averaged 155 presentations per day during the 2020-21 holiday period – which were significant increases when compared to the 2020 calendar year averages of 112 (Hervey Bay) and 128 (Bundaberg) presentations per day.
At Maryborough Hospital there was an average of 74 presentations a day during the 2020-21 holiday period, which was up on the 2020 calendar year average of 63 presentations per day.
The busiest days of the holiday period for WBHHS emergency departments collectively were December 28 (435 presentations), December 29 (434 presentations) and December 26 (423 presentations).
Ms Carroll also took the opportunity to thank patients for their understanding during the holiday period, as well as WBHHS staff for their outstanding work.
“On behalf of our Executive and Board, I’d like to thank all our dedicated staff for their efforts throughout the Christmas and New Year period,” she said.
“It really does take a high level of co-ordination, planning, clinical expertise, hard work and commitment to provide the best possible care for our patients and we’re really proud of our teams for their professionalism and commitment over the holiday period.
“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 also important to acknowledge the patience visitors to our emergency department have shown during this busy time of the year as they wait for care. Often patients with less urgent conditions will have to wait longer than normal, but they have done so with great co-operation and understanding, and our staff have greatly appreciated that.”
Emergency department holiday presentations – the numbers
Hervey Bay Hospital
Total 2020/21 Christmas holiday presentations
2020/21 Christmas holiday average
2020 calendar year daily average
Total 2019/2020 Christmas holiday presentations
2019/20 Christmas holiday average