Make This Christmas Day Casual – Not A Casualty

22 December 2016

The Andrews Labor Government is urging Victorians to take basic precautions to ensure they celebrate Christmas with family and friends – not with the hard-working doctors and nurses in our hospital emergency departments.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today reminded people not to over-indulge during the holiday period.

Hospital presentation figures show a spike in patients where alcohol is a factor over the festive period – with a 15 per cent increase from 25 December to 4 January last Christmas and New Year period.

An average of 5032 people per day attended emergency departments from 25 December 2015 to 4 January 2016, compared with an average 4551 people in the first part of December and 4422 for the rest of January.

Christmas Day is tipped to be hot across much of Victoria, so people need to be aware of the best ways to stay hydrated and cool, and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.

One of Victoria’s busier emergency departments, The Alfred, experienced a 4 per cent increase in presentations from Christmas Eve to January 2 last year, and is prepared for a jump in patients again this year.

The biggest increase is in patients who have fallen, either while standing or from a height of less than a metre. Falls last Christmas jumped by 7.2 per cent over The Alfred’s daily average across the year, to 165 patients across the 10 day period.

The next most common cause of emergency department visits was abdominal pain, with the increase possibly linked to over-indulging.

Arm, wrist and hand fractures are next, followed by the effects of drug use and mental illness episodes.

Arm, wrist and hand lacerations, car accidents and alcohol were the next-most common conditions needing emergency department care.

Other Yuletide indulgences which see a jump in presentations at The Alfred are burns and gastroenteritis, and bike and cycling injuries – so adults and children alike need to take care if they get a new bike from Santa.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We want all Victorians to enjoy the festive season to the fullest, but also to be aware of what they need to do to keep healthy, safe and out of our hospitals.”

“Drink responsibly this holiday season – sadly the hidden effects of excessive alcohol consumption are felt too often this time of year in our hospitals through an increase in alcohol-fuelled violence and accidents.”

“Burns, stomach bugs and cycling injuries increase over the festive period so revellers need to take care with the hotplates, keep food cool and fresh at the Christmas barbie, and take things slow when testing out the new bike.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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