Nightmares, Bruises, Acne: Aussies Clogging Up Emergency Rooms

People have sought urgent treatment for nightmares, acne and blisters, just to name a few.

Bruises, blisters, and nightmares are some of the things people are going to  emergency departments for.

Nearly a third of people that present at Queensland emergency departments are suffering from an illness that could easily be treated by a GP.

In fact, a whopping 290,000 people who arrived at emergency for medical attention in the first six months of 2018 were categorised as GP-type, which basically means their illness doesn't need hospital-level care.

Between January 1 and June 30 this year there were many not- even-slightly-urgent ailments ED staff had to manage in Queensland. Some of them include;

  • 33 people for acne
  • 4 people for blisters
  • A whopping 1, 646 people for bruising
  • 697 people for a sore throat
  • 530 people for a nose bleed

Two people are even reported to have turned up to emergency to seek medical treatment for a nightmare.

"This is a really busy time of year, August typically ... we have cold winds and what not, the flu season is starting to kick in and we see lots of people coming out with a whole range of conditions ... [these include] traumas, heart attacks major injuries, acute problems," Professor Keith McNeil from Queensland Health said.

The flu season sees many people go to emergency with minor illnesses. Image: Getty Images.

"On the other end of the spectrum, people come here with minor ailments. Not so much sunburn at this time of year, but things like cuts and scratches, bites, stings. Those minor things that really could be treated outside of a hospital setting."

McNeil acknowledges that many people who present at emergency with minor illness require some degree of medical treatment, but not the level  hospitals provide.

“The emergency department is not the place for these things -- by definition, it’s there to treat emergencies."

Emergency departments are there to treat emergencies. Image: Getty Images.
High Volumes Of People A Real Risk For Staff

By people requesting emergency help when they don't truly need it, ED staff are put under greater pressure and those who are in genuine need of help are delayed from receiving it.

Nope, a nightmare is not a valid reason to go to emergency. Image: Getty Images.

“These sorts of presentations see our staff attending to people that could be seen by other medical professions,” said Logan Hospital emergency consultant Dr Scott Mackenzie said.

“Keep our emergency departments for those who need it most.”

McNeil added to this, saying that minor illnesses provide unwanted distractions for staff, whose main priority should be caring for those at real risk.

"It distracts people from doing what they are actually hear to do," McNeil said.