The Colleges warn that for various reasons, including COVID-19, increased demand for hospital beds and resignations of experienced healthcare workers, hospitals are under unprecedented pressure. Emergency healthcare workers are stretched to the limit and often working in busy EDs while clad in PPE, due to COVID-19.
A surge of avoidable ED presentations, such as those related to alcohol, could push healthcare systems and staff to breaking point– particularly in popular holiday areas.
At peak times like weekend nights, up to one in five people in EDs are there due to alcohol or drugs, and ACEM and CENNZ - NZNO warn that these easily avoidable presentations can delay care and use critical resources needed by others.
This festive period and summer, the Colleges urge Kiwis to enjoy spending time with friends and whānau but to make smart and safe choices and help support the staff who care for you when you need it the most.
ACEM Immediate Past President Dr John Bonning said, “Have fun, but don’t be an egg this festive season. Drink alcohol in moderation, avoid drugs, don’t fight, fall over or drive drunk or on drugs. Play it safe in the water, be sun-smart and keep a very close eye on your kids. Be very careful with ladders – so many ED presentations are from falling from a height.”
“Drive carefully and respectfully, particularly in holiday areas, be patient on the road and avoid becoming another road statistic.”
“Be prepared when you travel – take your medications, inhalers and prescriptions with you. Carry a summary of your medical history, including contact details for your usual care providers. Have a plan, in advance, about how to seek medical help, if you require it while away.”
“If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated against COVID-19. There will be COVID-19 in the community this summer and vaccination drastically reduces the chance of hospitalisation or death. Please be COVID-19 safe and follow public health advice. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over.”
College of Emergency Nursing New Zealand Chairperson Sue Stebbeings said, “We wish everyone very happy holidays connecting with whānau and friends. Stay as safe as possible wherever you are.”
“We’re here to help if you need us but holidays are so much better when you don’t need to spend time in the Emergency Department. So, think ahead to reduce your risk and escape the avoidable. And, if the unexpected happens, please remember we will be doing the best we can for everyone’s situation.”
Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857