Western Australia has the highest alcohol-related presentations to the emergency department of any state, according to new research by The University of Western Australia.
Professor Daniel Fatovich, Head of the Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine, helped conduct a snapshot survey of alcohol harm in 114 Australasian emergency departments (97 Australia, 17 New Zealand), on 6 December 2014 at 2 am.
This survey found that one in eight presentations in Australia were alcohol-related (12.6 per cent) while the rate for New Zealand was one in seven (13.7 per cent).
Professor Fatovich said Western Australia had the highest alcohol-related attendances of any state with one-in-five (19.07 per cent) and was only surpassed by the Northern Territory, which had one in three (32.31 per cent).
“We know alcohol-related admissions really impact on ED clinical staff because these patients consume a lot of resources and can even threaten or assault staff,” Professor Fatovich said.
“The availability and promotion of alcohol are increasing overall, and this obviously leads to an increase in alcohol-related harm, typically from excessive drinking. Basically, ED resources are being used for what is a preventable problem.”
The study, a collaboration between Monash University, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and the Australian National University Medical School is consistent with data collected from another snapshot survey recorded in 2013 and a seven-day survey the authors conducted in 2014.
“Snapshot surveys allow us to see trends that may be changing over time without the need for extensive resources,” Professor Fatovich said.
“Given our high response rate across regions and types of EDs, we believe our results are a broadly representative estimate of alcohol-related presentations in Australasian EDs at high alcohol times.”
Professor Fatovich, who is an emergency physician at Royal Perth Hospital, said drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion, would limit chances of alcohol-related harm.
(Source: The University of Western Australia)