OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations on the city's accident and emergency (A&E) service. METHODS: Retrospective analysis. RESULTS: A crowd estimated at more than 350,000 attended the celebrations. During the three day period between 00.01 h on 31 December and 23.59 h on 2 January, 1151 new patients presented to the A&E department and of these half arrived in the first 24 hours. Thirty six patients required emergency resuscitation and eight died in the department during the study period. CONCLUSIONS: The absolute number of patients presenting during the study period greatly exceeded most of the "major disasters" in contemporary UK experience. No deaths were directly attributable to the event, but the spectrum of patient pathologies, their severity and presentation is analogous to several recent major incidents. It is doubtful whether the Hogmanay celebrations are safe.
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