Rise in emergency incidents

Wanaka St John

St John has reported a rise in emergency incidents across Otago Southland.

The organisation said there were around 720 incidents a week on average in July 2017, compared to 690 in July 2016, a rise of more than four percent. The news is slightly better for Wanaka, with incidents falling from 32 a week to 28 when comparing the same months.

Nationally, 111 emergency calls needing an ambulance had already increased by eight percent for the month of June, rising from 40,900 in June 2016 to 44,200 in June 2017.

The most common incidents that St John typically attends during the winter season are influenza symptoms and respiratory conditions, with winter sports injuries also featuring prominently.

Central Otago territory manager David Baillie said, “For minor illnesses like coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms, people should see their GP early to avoid them getting worse. Anyone who is experiencing shortness of breath or chest pain should call an ambulance.”

July and August are usually the busiest months for St John and emergency ambulance responses look like they could increase still further.

The second week in July this year saw an average of 1373 incidents a day across the country, the busiest week in St John’s history.

St John clinical operations director Norma Lane said although they receive about ten percent more emergency ambulance incidents nationally during the colder months, they are well prepared to meet any rise in demand.

“Our St John Clinical Control Centres are constantly monitoring our resources and managing our capability through the busiest time of year with extra resourcing placed where the need is greatest,” Norma said.

St John advises the public to visit their local GP for non-urgent health concerns and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free advice from a nurse. For emergencies, they should continue to dial 111.

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