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Should boozers foot the bill for draining NHS resources?

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The One Show Team | 16:52 UK time, Monday, 8 February 2010

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"It's funny". That was one drunk patient's response when asked how he felt about being hospitalised due to drink. Watch the video above.

Anita Rani visited Newcastle General's Accident and Emergency unit to see for herself the impact that drunkeness has on the NHS.

In her film, Anita told us that in one year, over 3,600 patients were admitted into North East hospitals solely because of booze.

In England alone it's thought that alcohol related admissions cost the health service close to three billion pounds a year.

At the hospital Anita met Henry Featherstone of the Policy Exchange thinktank. He suggested that charging drunk patients £532 to cover the cost of their hospital care would deter them from abusing alchohol and burdening the NHS.

But the Department of Health say that the proposal flies in the face of the founding principles of the NHS - free health care for all.

Should boozers foot the bill for draining NHS resources? Have your say here.

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