Number of patients in emergency during holidays revealed

Emergency departments across the Wide Bay were kept busy with an influx of patients throughout the holiday period and Bundaberg was no exception.

According to Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service data 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.

The 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.

The Bundaberg Hospital had 1549 presentations from Christmas Eve to January 2.

While Hervey Bay recorded 1,553 presentations and Maryborough Hospital had 742 presentations for that same period.

WBHHS Chief Executive Debbie Carroll said their teams were well prepared to handle the increased numbers, which were always expected at this time of year; due both to the closure of many local primary health services for the break and more visitors.

“That said, the number of presentations were just under 7 per cent higher than the previous Christmas period, which reflects the ever-growing demand for our services each year,” she said.

Bundaberg and Hervey Bay 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 128 (Bundaberg) and 112 (Hervey Bay) 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).

The Bundaberg Hospital’s busiest day in the emergency department was December 29, with

177 presentations.

Ms Carroll thanked patients for their understanding during the holiday period, and 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.”