Tamworth hospital sees spike in New Year's Eve activity

SURGE: Tamworth emergency department staff specialist Dr Sarah Jones saw a typical spike in activity on New Year's Eve. Photo: Gareth Gardner
SURGE: Tamworth emergency department staff specialist Dr Sarah Jones saw a typical spike in activity on New Year's Eve. Photo: Gareth Gardner

BOOZY presentations were trickling through the Emergency Department’s (ED) doors on New Year’s Eve, but local publicans have largely praised revellers’ behaviour.

The ED saw a typical surge on the last day of the year with a 127 visitors on Sunday night, with range of issues falling in the hands of the round-the-clock medicos.

“Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of family and social situations that come to a head over the holiday period,” ED staff specialist Sarah Jones said.

“Combined with that and people having, perhaps, too good a time to celebrate the old and bring in the new, there was a lot of trauma and some assaults.

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“A few intoxicated patients who came through, as well as the usual host of strokes and people with chest pains.”

Dr Jones said the end-of-year celebrations can see “the assaults related to alcohol ingestion” and a slew of people who’ve overdone it on the sauce.

While dealing with a variety of issues, Dr Jones said there were a few ways of handling the difficult and pressurised situations faced by emergency doctors and nurses.

“It’s not that hard to be compassionate and empathetic when you remember these are people who have reached the end of their tether for a whole host of reasons, medically, socially and even financially or perhaps how much they can drink,” she said.

“We just try to very hard to make sure everyone moves smoothly through and make sure we’re really honest with our patients about what the trajectory of their stay will be.”

She encouraged the region to be mindful of their drinking and each other during the holidays to avoid a needless trip to the ED.

“I don’t expect people not to drink over this period, but be slightly less enthusiastic about what they’re drinking, and to look after their mates,” Dr Jones said.

“Some of the intoxicated people who come though have just been abandoned by the people they’ve been going out with and just have no other way of being looked after.

“So we fall into the safety net for those people.”

Tamworth Liquor Accord chair Ian Dundon said there wasn’t any problems under his watch at the Longyard, where, he said, crowds were big, well-behaved and largely comprised of regulars.

While he said it’s “hard to compare” year-on-year, Mr Dundon felt there has been a change of attitude among party-goers in recent years realising the need to be more responsible.

Albert Hotel publican Nick Weir said “99 per cent of people were well-behaved” from his vantage point on Peel St.

“It was a very busy night,” he said.

“99 per cent of people were fine and had a good time.

“But there was a significant lack of public transport.”

He shut the doors 20 minutes before lockout when he said the night was “big enough”. Mr Weir said the pub was doing everything it could to ensure people could have a safe and enjoyable time when they’re out.

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