Injured and unwell New Year’s Eve revellers are set to pile the pressure on Huddersfield’s A&E department over the next 24 hours.
The infirmary’s top emergency doctor has said he is prepared for up to three times more patients than normal between midnight tomorrow and 8am on January 1.
Extra staff have been called in to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s (HRI) emergency department to deal with the dozens of extra patients who turn up after fights and drunken antics while heralding the start of 2015.
Well over 200 patients are expected – more than eight an hour – compared with fewer than 100 on an average day.
While most of us are enjoying the fireworks and the chimes from Big Ben, the early hours of New Year’s Day for A&E staff sees a rush of victims suffering from the aftermath of heavy drinking and violence.
Hospital records show every year begins with dozens of broken bones, cuts and sprains and at least one stab victim every year.
The dawn of 2010, saw six men injured, one of whom was stabbed, during a mass brawl at Huddersfield night club Mansion.
It was a particularly bad year with staff dealing with four separate stabbings and a drug overdose before 4am.
Other incidents included a 17-year-old girl who said her drink had been spiked and a man and a woman who were victims of a domestic assault.
Several more assault victims turned up through the course of the day.
In 2011 staff also dealt with two stabbings in the early hours along with a several cuts, head injuries and a 23-year-old man who had a human bite on his shoulder.
2012 saw 228 people attend HRI’s A&E on New Year’s Day – the most attendances in the past five years.
They included a 25-year-old man who had been stabbed in the head and multiple incidents of men with cuts to their faces and hands, presumably from fights.
2013 also began for A&E staff with a stabbing after a 28-year-old man presented with a wound on his left side at 3.25am.
Unusual incidents continued through the day with a 30-year-old man arriving with a dislocated ankle having jumped out of a window and a 25-year-old man who had fallen out of a taxi.
2014 was only five minutes old when a drunk 18-year-old who had fallen down the stairs arrived at A&E. The patient was abusive and was removed from the department.
At 3am the assault victims began to arrive with no fewer than five men and two women attending with injuries in just one hour.
And the first day of 2014 was no different to the previous four years with a male stab victim arriving shortly after noon.
Huddersfield’s A&E chief, consultant Mark Davies, has urged people to only come to A&E if they are suffering with serious injuries or illness to keep staff free for those who really need care.
“We are always really busy on New Year’s Day,” he said. “Especially between midnight and 8am.
“The high numbers are mainly due to alcohol-related or ice-related incidents.”
If you are unwell or have a minor injury, the NHS is advising attending a walk-in centre such as the one at Dewsbury Hospital, calling 111 or using your GP’s out-of-hours service.
A host of pharmacies are also open on New Year’s Day for advice and remedies.
A list is available online via www.greaterhuddersfieldccg.nhs.uk