‘Drunk tanks’ needed to tackle ‘selfish’ revellers

2nd January, 2018 by Melita Kiely

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) could permanently introduce more ‘drunk tanks’ throughout the country to alleviate the pressure put on A&E departments by those who have consumed too much alcohol.

Alcohol cocktails celebration WEB

Drunk tanks could be rolled out across UK to help alleviate pressure from A&E departments

Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff already offer supervised areas – more commonly called ‘drunk tanks’ – where drunk revellers can be checked over, and even sleep it off, instead of being taken to A&E unnecessarily.

According to figures quoted by NHS England, approximately 12-15% of attendances to emergency departments in the UK are due to “acute alcohol intoxication”.

These admittances are highest on Friday and Saturday evenings, when up to 70% of attendances can be alcohol-related.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “When the health service is pulling out all the stops to care for sick and vulnerable patients who rightly and genuinely need our support, it’s frankly selfish when ambulance paramedics and A&E nurses are have to be diverted to looking after revellers who have overindulged and who just need somewhere to safely sleep it off.

“NHS doesn’t stand for ‘National Hangover Service’, but in the run up to Christmas, having been out with ambulance crews on night shifts in London and the West Midlands, I’ve seen first hand how paramedics and A&Es are being called on to deal with drunk and often aggressive people.”

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