Impact on the health service in the Top End, Northern Territory following the introduction of an electric scooter sharing service

James Moran, Andrew Buck, Jodie Williams, Timothy Piatkowski, Renu Unnikrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To investigate patients presenting to EDs following the recent introduction of a shared electric scooter (e-scooter) scheme in Northern Territory (NT). Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study in Darwin, a regional city in NT, Australia with a population of approximately 150 000. Any patient who disclosed involvement of an e-scooter in the reason for their presentation to the ED was included. A descriptive analysis was derived for age, sex, triage time, alcohol level, injury type and the requirement of operating theatre, inpatient stay or ED discharge. Categorical variables were analysed using χ2-tests, with odds ratios (ORs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and P-values reported. Costing analysis to ED of attendances and inpatient hospital admissions was undertaken. Results: There were 111 presentations over the 8-month study period (January–September 2021). Forty-nine percent (n = 51) of patients were male and 51% (n = 54) were female. Extremity (n = 70) and craniofacial (n = 61) injuries were most common and approximately a quarter of patients (n = 24) required operative management for injuries sustained. Approximately half (n = 51) of patients were intoxicated and the average alcohol level of those tested was 0.18% (range 0.05–0.49%). The average cost per ED attendance was AU$777 and total cost of inpatient admissions being AU$352 255. All inpatient admissions were a result of injury while intoxicated. Conclusion: Harm minimisations strategies targeting implementation of alcohol testing and penalties for riders may be able to reduce the effect that the introduction of e-scooters on the strained health system in the NT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

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