A (slightly) quieter New Year for Gisborne Hospital

6 January 2014

Tairawhiti District Health this morning thanked the region’s combined emergency services for their efforts over the busy New Year period.

Acting chief executive Lynsey Bartlett says presentations to Gisborne Hospital’s emergency department were down significantly on a couple of usually busy nights.

“In 2012, 102 people came to our emergency department on 30 Dec, this year we saw just 70. And on 1 Jan 2014 we saw 83 people, down from 102 the previous year.”

In total, there were 724 presentations to the emergency department from 24 December until 1 January 2014, down 57 on the previous year’s total of 781. And 169 people were admitted to Gisborne Hospital over the same period, a decrease of 36 on the previous year.

Mrs Bartlett says she won’t have exact figures on how many of the presentations were people attending the BW or Rhythm & Vines music festivals, nor will she know exactly how many were alcohol-related injuries, until a full report is completed in about two weeks.

“We saw the usual number of sprained ankles and twisted knees, and a fair number of heavily intoxicated people who really just needed somewhere safe to sleep off the effects of too much drink.”

She believes advertising to local people to keep the emergency department for real emergencies is starting to show results.

“Many of our GP practices extended their opening hours during the holiday period so locals were able to see their own GPs. I also think St Johns do a really great job on site at the festivals so fewer people come straight to the hospital for minor injuries. And perhaps the lower numbers at the hospital reflect the slightly lower number of people at the festivals this year.”

Mrs Bartlett paid tribute to the combined emergency services group, including St Johns, Gisborne District Council, Police, Fire Service and Three Rivers Medical Centre.

“In particular I want to thank St Johns – without them on site at both BW and R&V we would be looking at a very different scenario at the hospital. St Johns staff were able to see and treat the vast majority of small injuries, only transferring the more serious cases to the hospital.”