Emergency departments call for Crate Day ban

The emergency department (iStock)
The emergency department (iStock)

The head of one of New Zealand's busiest emergency departments is joining calls for a ban on Crate Day after hundreds of drunk young people flooded hospitals around the country after binge drinking on Saturday night.

Crate Day, which began as a radio station stunt, is an annual drinking event which takes place on the first Saturday of December.

Waikato Hospital's Dr John Bonning says they were put under huge strain despite extra staff being rostered on to cope.

"Some of the doctors and nurses describe it as the worst shift ever - it really was very very challenging, and the impact was not only on the intoxicated people who came in but also they impacted significantly the care we were able to provide other people," he says.

"Resuscitations were full of patients who were intoxicated and at risk of choking on their own vomit - semi-conscious, fighting, aggressive, needing to be sedated. I think it's quite selfish."

Dr Bonning adds the Government and councils need to legislate to close bars earlier to reduce the impact of Crate Day on emergency departments.

"We're coming into the festive season, and there needs to be some Government regulation over things like late closing hours," he says.

"Every hour you make closing earlier you result in a 20 percent reduction in intoxicated patient presentation's to local emergency department - that's been shown in New South Wales."