Eye fractures plummet following lockout measures: study

St Vincent’s Hospital had 41 fewer patients presenting with fractured eye sockets in two years after the controversial lockout laws came into effect than the two years before, a new analysis of their long-term impact has found.

The number of cases of orbital fracture relating to violence at the hospital dropped 10 per cent over two years after the controversial legislation came into effect, the study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, found.

“The number of fractures associated with alleged violence or assault was statistically significantly lower,” the report, which was co-authored by the director of the hospital’s emergency department and proponent of the laws, Gordian Fulde, said.

Overall presentations to the hospital for the injuries dropped from 196 in the two years prior to the lockout laws’ introduction in 2014 to 155 in the two years following.
The cost savings to the taxpayer are conservatively estimated to be greater than $450,000 over the period. The savings were driven by 27 fewer operations needed and 14 fewer patients who had their injuries managed outside the operating theatre.

The authors did not examine whether presentations were altered at hospitals outside the area affected by the original laws.

The laws, enacted following the deaths of teenagers Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie, prohibited entry to pubs and hotels in Kings Cross and the city centre after 1.30am.

The introduction of the laws in 2014 sparked a series of protests against the state government in the years after.

Following an independent review in 2016, the government eased the 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks laws to allow affected live entertainment venues to apply for a 2am lockout and 3.30am last drinks.

Licensees in the lockout zones say business has plummeted and groups such as Keep Sydney Open, say Sydney’s late-night and live-music culture has been destroyed.

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Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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