Drunks should be banned from hospital casualty departments because they are a ‘waste of resources,’ nurses say.
Instead, all intoxicated patients should be treated by non-emergency staff in so-called drunk tanks or booze buses, the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress was told.
They are a nuisance to other patients, waste the time of hard-pressed staff and increase waiting times, the meeting heard.
Delegate Uwem Otong said: ‘Alcohol intoxication is not an accident. With other ailments or problems, if a GP is capable of dealing with that problem that issue should not go to A&E.
‘So why should alcohol intoxication be accepted in A&E? I think it is a waste of resources.’
However, other nurses argued it was wrong to discriminate against people who needed help and could lead to serious head injuries being misdiagnosed as intoxication.
Up to seven in ten A&E cases at weekends are said to be alcohol-related. But nurses say it is growing from a Friday and Saturday night phenomenon into a week-long problem.
They want a rethink on how drunks are dealt with. Nykoma Hamilton, from the RCN’s Fife branch, said: ‘Staff didn’t go to work in A&E just to treat a bunch of drunk people who have fallen over and hurt their face.’
But the Department of Health insisted: ‘Hospitals have the power to remove anybody who is being abusive.’
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16 June 2014 | 10:03 pm – Source: metro.co.uk