Keep EDs free for emergencies this Christmas

  • Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is encouraging people where possible to keep EDs free for emergencies this festive season.

“Around 3,000 people were seen in emergency departments across the country on Christmas Day last year,” says Dr Coleman.

“This is a busy time of year for our health workforce, so it is important that we keep emergency departments free for emergencies.”

Anyone with a health concern can call Healthline on 0800 611116 or Plunketline on 0800 933922.

 Healthline gets on average 1,000 calls a day. Over the holiday period last year most of the calls were about children’s tummy upsets, adults with chest and stomach pain, and queries about medicines.

 “Around 10,000 people spent at least part of Christmas Day being cared for in hospital in 2013,” says Dr Coleman.

 "Hospital staff do all they can to enable everyone to spend at least part of Christmas Day with their families, even if that only means being discharged for a few hours.

“For those who can't spend Christmas at home, staff try to make the day special with some arranging carol singers, mince pies, competitions for the best-decorated ward or a visit from Father Christmas.

“Our healthcare staff work hard all year, and I would like to thank those who are working over the festive season.”