Revealed: The most common reasons for A&E treatments over Christmas

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:50 27 December 2019

Minor injuries and illnesses ranked among some of the most common reasons for A&E admissions at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals at Christmas  Picture: SIMON PARKER

Minor injuries and illnesses ranked among some of the most common reasons for A&E admissions at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals at Christmas Picture: SIMON PARKER

A man with injured genitals on Christmas Day was one of the many who were treated at accident and emergency at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals over the festive period in recent years.

From dog bites to alcohol abuse, bugs and bruises and falls - the two hospitals combined treated more than 200 each day from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day between 2016 and 2018.

Figures released in a Freedom of Information request Ipswich Hospital treated an average of 199 patients on each Christmas Day during the period, which although under the daily average for the rest of the year, shows the level of hard work put in by staff.

Reasons for treatment included overdoses and needle injuries, while chest pains, falls and breathing problems ranked alongside diarrhoea and vomiting for the most common reasons requiring treatment.

Also among them were those needing help with their mental health, with 12 of 23 patients arriving in the last three years arriving at Ipswich Hospital on Christmas Day requesting help.

The figures also show those who had attempted to, or had contemplated, taking their own lives.

Among the less routine treatments included one for a man who attended on Ipswich Hospital on Christmas Day 2017 with a genital injury, while two men visited Colchester on the same day with similar ailments.

In 2017, two people attended Ipswich Hospital for treatment of a stab wound on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, while 2016 included a suspected drink spiking and someone with washing up liquid in their eye. There were also several cases of foreign bodies in various parts of the body.

Catherine Morgan, chief nurse at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our dedicated teams will be on hand to care for our community over the Christmas and New Year period, but it is important to make sure we keep our emergency department available for the people who really need it."

Ms Morgan added those with minor illness or injury should contact their GP, visit pharmacies or contact the NHS 111 service for advice over the festive period rather than visit hospital.

She said: ""We would never discourage anyone from seeking help, however if you have a minor illness or injury you can contact your GP in normal surgery hours or speak to your local pharmacist for help and treatment.

"Many pharmacies are open late night and at weekends and some will be open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day too. The NHS 111 service is also available on the telephone and online 24 hours a day, seven days a week for advice.

"If you need to come to hospital, the medical professionals and teams running these services will let you know.

"You can help us to help you stay well this winter by making the right choice of where you go for treatment."

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