Western Sydney residents called on to keep EDs for emergencies only

Westmead Hospital general manager Andrew Newton.
Westmead Hospital general manager Andrew Newton.

Westmead Hospital’s general manager is reminding the community to only attend busy western Sydney emergency departments for conditions that pose an immediate health risk.

General manager Andrew Newton said Westmead Hospital’s emergency department (ED) had received several patients over the weekend with conditions that did not pose an immediate health risk.

Mr Newton said ailments, including minor aches and pains, toothache and minor cuts and bruises, could be treated at a local GP or medical centre.

“While some of these conditions may require medical attention, they are not emergencies,” he said.

“We want people to remember that emergency departments are for life-threatening emergencies and consider whether their illness can be treated by a local doctor instead.”

Last week alone, Western Sydney Local Health District emergency departments experienced a 20 per cent rise in ambulance presentations, compared to the same time last year.

Mr Newton said many presentations were a result of record high flu numbers and a recent gastro outbreak across NSW.

“Our emergency departments are a busy place and our highly trained doctors and nurses are doing a tremendous job helping to ensure patients are seen on time,” he said.

“But we are asking the community to do what they can to help keep our EDs free from congestion, so that medical staff can quickly attend to people with life-threatening illnesses or conditions.”

Given the spike in flu and gastro cases across the state, Western Sydney Local Health District is urging people to stay home if they are sick.

“Wait at least 24 hours after your fever or gastro resolves before returning to work so you lessen the chance of infecting other people,” Mr Newton said.

“If your child is unwell, avoid taking them out unless it’s to see a doctor. Keep them away from school and other activities too.”

If people feel unwell, they should visit their GP or phone Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

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