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New figures on alcohol-related hospital admissions prove the urgent need for trading hour reforms in Queensland.

AMA Queensland, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and the Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol (QCAA) have welcomed the State Government’s planned last drinks laws and called for bipartisan support to curb the damage.

“It’s time to take charge – this proposal to restrict trading hours across the state will save lives,” QCAA Chairman Professor Jake Najman said.

“Drinking related violence is increasing; every day we see the devastating results in emergency departments,” AMA Queensland President Dr Chris Zappala said.

Queensland Health data from hospitals across the state shows the growing scourge of drinking related violence and injuries goes well beyond the urban entertainment precincts (see over) with alcohol-related emergency department presentations up more than 24 per cent from 2009-10 to 2014-15.

For example, Cairns Hospital alcohol-related presentations were up 35 per cent over five years to be the second highest in the State.

“We need a bipartisan move to rollout and evaluate the Last Drinks ,” Prof. Najman said.

“With Schoolies celebrations and summer holidays fast approaching, time is of the essence.”

RACS spokesperson Dr Brian McGowan, Director of Surgery at Logan Hospital, said the statistics play out in Queensland hospitals every night.

“We see too many deaths, horrific injuries and lives destroyed by excessive drinking and violence,” Dr McGowan said.

“For those of us working on the frontline, trading hour changes cannot come fast enough.”


Media contacts:
QCAA - Professor Jake Najman
0411 043 490
AMA Queensland – Rachael Finley
0419 735 641

Facility Alcohol presentations in  2014-15* Percentage change from 2009-10 to 2014-15 (%)
Bundaberg Hospital 287 19.58
Caboolture Hospital 299 57.37
Cairns Hospital 950 34.56
Caloundra Hospital 183 63.39
Gladstone Hospital 127 -16.45
Gold Coast University Hospital 727 ^
Gympie Hospital 84 -4.55
Hervey Bay Hospital 182 -21.21
Ipswich Hospital 292 3.18
Lady Cilento Children's Hospital 40 ^
Logan Hospital 377 -9.59
Mackay Base Hospital 283 17.92
Maryborough Hospital 109 -21.58
Mater Children's Public Hospital 1 ^
Mater Hospital Brisbane Public 26 -25.71
Mount Isa Base Hospital 374 1.63
Nambour Hospital 367 35.42
Princess Alexandra Hospital 761 41.98
Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital 227 20.11
Redcliffe Hospital 270 11.11
Redland Hospital 332 27.69
Robina Hospital 479 73.55
Rockhampton Hospital 472 12.92
Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital 2,506 36.2
Royal Children's Hospital 5 -68.75
The Prince Charles Hospital 418 31.03
Toowoomba Hospital 261 8.3
Townsville Hospital 802 24.92
Queensland 11,241 24.09

Source: Emergency Department Information System. Data is sourced from an operational information system and is subject to change.

* Alcohol-related presentations indicate the principal diagnosis ICD.10 code for the patient’s presentation was either: F10.0: alcohol intoxication, F10.3: alcohol withdrawal syndrome, F10.5: alcoholic hallucinosis, or K29.2: gastritis – alcoholic. Queensland Health facilities that provide emergency services keep statistics relating to emergency presentation by patients who may have ingested alcohol. These presentations could be identified by the principal diagnosis code assigned to the patients’ record. However, presentations like these to emergency departments are mainly treated and diagnosed symptomatically – for example, a patient may present to an emergency department with head injuries from a fall they sustained whilst under the influence of alcohol. In this instance, the principal diagnosis on presentation may be trauma-specific, not alcohol-specific. Also, the patients’ alcohol use may not be diagnosed in the emergency department, but instead identified from further investigations after the patient is admitted as an inpatient. In that case, alcohol use may not be recorded in the emergency department data.

^ Trend data for this time period was not available.