Need medical assistance over the break? Here’s what you need to know

The entire health system is prepared to provide help over the festive season.

With the busy festive season upon us, NSW Health today issued advice on preparing for a healthy Christmas and what to do if family members become unwell during the holiday break.

Susan Pearce, Deputy-Secretary of NSW Health, said the community can be assured the entire health system is well prepared to help, from community care through to immediate medical emergencies.

“Emergency Departments are operating as usual over the Christmas and New Year period to assist with urgent, unexpected conditions,” Ms Pearce said.

“Where the matter is not of a serious / life threatening nature, patients are advised to see their local GP or medical centre.”

“For any advice or concerns, the public should remember that Healthdirect is always able to assist with medical advice.”

Tap or click here to find a western Sydney GP that’s open during the festive season.

Ms Pearce said it was also important to make sure medications and prescriptions are also in order before the holiday period, especially if people are travelling away, and urged families to keep the 24-hour Healthdirect helpline in their phones.

“In the case of a health emergency, people should call Triple Zero (000) but for other health concerns Healthdirect is an excellent source of assistance.

“By calling the Healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222, anyone can receive health advice from registered nurses on the line, at any time of day or night,” she said.

Healthdirect is not an emergency service. People with a health emergency should still ring Triple Zero (000). Patients who are experiencing heart and breathing problems or who need urgent medical attention should always attend their local emergency department or contact Triple Zero.

Everyone’s encouraged to take simple measures and precautions to ensure a happy and healthy holiday season, by:

• Moderating the consumption of alcohol, particularly on New Year’s Eve;

• Visiting their GP in the lead up to Christmas, and ensuring they have an adequate supply of prescription medications;

• Taking additional care on the roads and when participating in outdoor recreational activities;

• Keeping a close eye on elderly relatives with impaired mobility in unfamiliar surroundings;

• Maintaining regular contact with the socially isolated;

• Taking precautions on very hot days, such as maintaining hydration, minimising physical activity, wearing light clothing, avoiding alcohol, and staying indoors between 11am and 5pm, ideally in air conditioning;

• Supervising and keeping a watchful eye on children, particularly around water;

• Refrigerating food immediately, throwing out leftovers and carefully cleaning food preparation surfaces;

• Washing hands with soap and water before eating and preparing food, after using the toilet and after changing nappies; and

• Ensuring that Christmas gifts, including bikes and skateboards, are accompanied with protective equipment such as helmets and knee pads.

In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing a record $22.9 billion in health, representing a $1.1 billion increase over the 2017-18 Budget, including $19.2 billion towards improving services in hospitals in NSW this year.

An investment of $759 million dollars for acute patient services will fund an additional 40,000 emergency department attendances in addition to 2.9 million already provided, and 3,200 elective surgeries in addition to the 225,500 already provided.