Christmas should be a time for festive fun but for some unfortunate ones it is a time of tragedy.
Over the Christmas period accident and emergency departments are at their busiest, treating more than 80,000 patients, therefore increasing the average number of UK accidents to its highest level. Such accidents include individuals; eating decorations mistakenly assuming they were chocolates, suffering burns from fairy lights, putting on their new clothing forgetting to remove the pins, electrocuting themselves watering the trees with fairy lights on, fracturing their skulls while vomiting in the toilet and many more.
Though some of these accidents may seem rather improbable, they are nevertheless very serious and in some cases can lead to death. However, not all of the cases which accident and emergency staff are confronted with are as serious; some are merely trivial, for instance last year a lady visited a hospital in the North West requesting Doctors to carve her Christmas turkey with their surgical equipment.
Hospitals are concerned that during the festive season the amount of admissions will increase, due to ‘time wasters’ attending A&E instead of going to their GP or Butcher in the above case.
At the moment according to Jimmy Stuart, a clinical director at Pennine Acute Trusts, A&E departments are witnessing up to 50 people a day who could be treated and seen elsewhere.
This statistic is slightly worrying as the patients with serious injuries and life threatening conditions will ultimately suffer first and foremost, not mentioning the effect this has on the public purse. Each person attending A&E costs the taxpayer £59 and last year in the North West alone, unnecessary attendances to A&E cost on average £21m.
The cost to genuine patients whose life depends on these services is priceless.
May I wish you a very safe and happy Christmas.
By Gabrielle Bann-Khellaf