Safer New Year's weekend behaviour sees fewer medical emergencies and trauma
The third long weekend of the Festive Season once again saw our trauma units and emergency medical services (EMS) called on relentlessly to provide emergency care to clients in need. However, compared to the Christmas long weekend (10 245), our EMS teams were called out to fewer emergencies and crash sites.
We thank our citizens for playing their part in adopting safer personal choices. Their actions helped reduce the additional strain our staff had to deal with in responding to life-threatening emergencies.
During the New Year’s weekend (From 00h00 on Friday, 30 December 2022 to 10h00 on Tuesday, 3 January 2023), 3534 trauma cases presented to 41 emergency centres (ECs) across the province. In addition to these, a further 9555 patients needed non-trauma medical care.
Top trauma cases at these 41 facilities were:
• 920 stabbings
• 767 blunt assaults
• 117 motor-vehicle related injuries and 136 pedestrian related injuries
• 65 gunshot wounds
• 762 accidental injuries and 75 self-harm injuries
Though preparedness plans for our facilities are in place, preventable trauma cases always place additional pressure on them. Most of the reported trauma cases were seen within the Cape Metro at facilities such as Delft CHC (201), Kraaifontein CHC (193), Paarl Hospital (171), Gugulethu CHC (164), and Khayelitsha Hospital (163).
Over holiday periods, unfortunately, we do see many incidents requiring emergency medical response. Our EMS crews again navigated a very busy weekend in responding to a total of 7 934 emergency calls across the province. The top 10 incidents logged were:
• 1 331 incidents of persons suffering from pain;
• 969 assaults with a weapon;
• 695 respiratory complaints;
• 526 physical assaults;
• 502 abdominal complaints;
• 465 obstetrics;
• 387 neurological;
• 362 diarrhoea/vomiting;
• 274 Musculoskeletal; and
• 256 incidents of accidental injury
Though at times dangerous and challenging, our EMS crews also attended to several calls in permanent identified Red Zone areas such as Beacon Valley (69), Tafelsig (69), Hanover Park (29), and Chicago (16).
On our busy provincial roads, the EMS responded to 149 transport-related incidents of which 69 involved pedestrians, 71 were light motor vehicles, 4 involving motor cyclists, 3 involving minibus taxis, and 2 involving cyclists. Our Search and Rescue teams also responded to 17 incidents, of which nine were on Table Mountain.
The Western Cape Department of Health again thanks our citizens and residents for their responsible behaviour over this long weekend, which afforded our staff the necessary space and capacity to provide quality health care to our clients.