A lifesaving Major Trauma Centre team is urging people across Teesside and North Yorkshire to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night safely this year.
Julie Suckling, service manager for urgent and emergency care at the region’s busiest Emergency Departments (EDs), The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, says ED staff don’t want to see people having their festivities spoiled as a result of avoidable injury.
She is urging people trick or treating or attending parties or fireworks displays, to enjoy themselves – and make sure they get home safely.
“The message is, enjoy this time of year, stay safe, wrap up well and get home safely,” she said.
“We don’t want to see anybody’s celebrations being spoiled by accidents that have ended up with them needing to come to the ED.”
Ian Blain, consultant in emergency medicine, said he had witnessed some “pretty distressing burns” in A&E over the years, after Halloween or Bonfire Night celebrations in the area have gone horrifically wrong.
He said: “At this time of year, once the nights get darker we do see an increase in injuries like trips and falls and we would urge people going out dressed up to be especially careful.
“We see a lot of injuries related to sparklers which can be very distressing – particularly amongst young children – and some more serious injuries related to fireworks and we would advise people to be particularly cautious with these.
“My advice would be to go to an organised fireworks display involving responsible adults lighting fireworks in a well-lit area.”
Sadly, despite such warnings it is inevitable the ED at The James Cook University Hospital will see some injuries related to the celebrations taking place at this time of year; and that means you could face a long wait if you attend with a minor illness or injury.
Mr Blain said: “The celebrations, combined with the fact we are now getting into winter and have more people coming in seriously ill with respiratory problems at this time of year mean we are counting on people even more to choose the most appropriate service for their needs.
“There are alternatives to A&E for minor illnesses and injuries such as the NHS 111 service, pharmacies, GP surgeries and Redcar Primary Care Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit.
“Choosing the right service for your needs will enable us to concentrate on treating the most seriously ill and injured patients first.”