The emergency department at Maitland Hospital is a vital part of our community.
It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and if you are seriously ill or injured you don’t need an appointment to be treated.
Its staff deal with life and death situations on a daily basis and anyone who has had a health emergency will tell you they do a fabulous job – often under difficult
However, a spike in winter ills such as influenza,
respiratory illnesses and gastroenteritis has stretched our emergency department to its limit.
Many of these winter illnesses can, and should, be treated by general practitioners, instead of clogging up the emergency department.
That’s why John Hunter Hospital general manager Michael Symonds urged Maitland residents this week to use other health services unless it was a critical medical matter.
Mr Symonds said emergency departments do not work on a first-come, first-served basis and the hospital triage system ensures that people who need urgent
treatment are cared for first, while those with less serious conditions might have to wait longer to be seen.
While emergency departments will never turn people away, those with minor winter ills should first seek treatment from their local GP, an after hours GP or healthdirect Australia where they can speak with a registered nurse.
This will free up emergency department staff to deal with life and death situations.