ACT Health Director-General, Dr Peggy Brown, says the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department saw its busiest day ever on record yesterday with a total of 254 presentations.
“This is an enormous number of people presenting within one day and I commend all the staff who worked yesterday through this busy day,” Dr Brown said.
“There were a number of factors that made yesterday a particularly busy day and we had an overwhelming number of people presenting with quite serious conditions.
“Yesterday’s weather did account for some of these presentations, with the wind and other weather conditions causing a rise in Asthma related presentations. At this time of year, we would normally expect to see somewhere around 4 Asthma related presentations a day, however with the change in weather over the weekend we saw around 15 Asthma related presentations, some of which were very serious, life threatening presentations,” Dr Brown said.
“The change in weather also seemed to encourage people outdoors and unfortunately, this did result in a large number of minor traumas that needed semi-urgent medical attention. For example, we had 36 immediately life threatening presentations (category 2) and 83 potentially life threatening/time critical (category 3) presentations.
“Despite this pressure, Canberra Hospital Emergency Department saw all Category 1 patients on time (target 100%) and 78% of category 2 patients on time (target 80%). Furthermore, 62% of patients were seen, treated and discharged within 4 hours of their presentation,” Dr Brown said.
“Whilst I understand some patients may have waited longer than expected yesterday for their treatment, these figures are impressive under the circumstances. This is always a timely reminder for patients who do not have urgent, life threatening conditions to use alternate treatment methods, such as our two Walk-in Centres or our after-hours GP services, including CALMS and the National Home Doctor Service.
“Preliminary figures from our Walk-in Centre’s show that yesterday they saw a total of approximately 100 patients across the two centres, so this definitely remains a suitable option for people with minor injury and illness to be seen free of charge and after-hours,” Dr Brown said.
“With similar weather conditions today, our early indications show that we are experiencing another very busy day today. This serves as a good reminder to use the alternate services mentioned above for non life or limb threatening conditions,” Dr Brown concluded.