One-in-seven people in Australian emergency departments on the weekend were there because of alcohol-related harm, a new survey suggests.
The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine’s snapshot taken at 2am on Sunday showed close to 400 people presented because of alcohol at 100 emergency departments across the country.
Alcohol was linked to one-in-five admissions at 30 of the hospitals.
The rate of alcohol-related presentations in Sunday’s snapshot was higher than in 2016 and 2017 when one-in-eight patients were in emergency departments due to liquor-related harm.
“Harm caused by alcohol is the largest preventable public health issue confronting emergency department doctors and staff,” ACEM president Simon Judkins said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The impact of alcohol-related presentations on ED functioning, ED clinical staff and other patients attending EDs cannot be overstated.”
Western Australia was the worst state with 17.9 per cent of presentations linked to alcohol.
Some 13 per cent of emergency patients in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory were there because of alcohol.
The rate was somewhat lower in Victoria (11.3 per cent) and South Australia (7.1 per cent).
Dr Judkins said people celebrating the festive season need to be aware that it doesn’t take long to go from “hero to zero”.
“As a nation, we tend to over-indulge, especially during the holidays and celebrations around Christmas, the New Year and Australia Day,” he said.
“We need to think about the consequences before having that extra drink.”
Australian Associated Press