Louise Mukherji-Powell |

Whatever your plans are for the festive period, Hato Hone St John is wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season - and sharing an important reminder to look out for whānau and friends.

Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve bring increased workload to the ambulance service, with the latter being the single busiest night of the year for incidents. On 31 December, calls into the 111 communications centres typically triple on average between 11pm and 2am.

Last Christmas, Hato Hone St John paramedics attended 1,203 incidents, with falls/back injuries, chest pains, passing out and breathing difficulties amongst the top reasons for an ambulance call out.

Dr Damian Tomic, Hato Hone St John Deputy Chief Executive – Clinical Services is reminding people that 111 should only be used if someone has sustained a serious injury or needs immediate medical attention.

He says, “If your call isn’t life threatening, there may be a delay in getting an ambulance to you.

“As everyone sets off on their holidays, take a few moments to make sure the safety of you and your family is included in your planning.”

“We upscale our resources in the hotspots over the festive season, but we’re also asking for all New Zealanders to play their part. Help each other to prevent incidents that are easily avoidable – like those which may involve alcohol, such as falls and motor vehicle crashes. Agree on a sober driver before you start drinking, make sure you stay hydrated and look out for your friends.”

On Christmas Day 2022, assault was the sixteenth most common reason for an ambulance call out. On New Year’s Eve, just one week later, it became the fifth most common reason for an ambulance response. New Year’s Eve also saw a 13% increase in workload, compared with the busiest day for Hato Hone St John in the height of winter.

Dr Tomic explains, “As we can see from last year’s numbers, there’s a notable increase in incidents involving violence on New Year’s Eve. This is why it’s important to be extra vigilant – regardless of whether you are out and about or celebrating at someone’s house. Keep an eye on your drinks and always check that your friends are able to make it home safely.”

He concludes, “We also won’t tolerate violence or aggression towards our staff under any circumstances. Our teams are working hard, often throughout the night, to make sure the health and wellbeing of the public is top priority. Please be kind and respectful to them.

From all of us at Hato Hone St John, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

The following are Hato Hone St John’s tips for staying safe this summer:

  • If you’re on a road based trip, familiarise yourself with your location before you set off. Find out in advance where the closest hospital or medical centre is to your location, and know your exact address in case you need to call for help.
  • Take some first aid supplies, and ensure you pack your prescription medicines. You can also download the free St John CPR app here.
  • Remember to keep batteries from gifts away from children to avoid swallowing. The battery can become lodged in the oesophagus with dangerous results. See our choking first aid advice here.
  • Stay hydrated - especially when in the sun and/or when drinking alcohol, and ensure whānau and friends are doing the same.




Hato Hone St John media team

PH 0800 756 334

E media@stjohn.org.nz

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