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Is A&E a drop-in for drinkers?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 15:33 UK time, Monday, 1 December 2008

Can't see the film? Click here to watch.

When most of us are winding down ready for the weekend, the country's emergency services are gearing up for the busiest time of the week.

While they're trained to deal with life and death situations, come the weekend, a large proportion of their time is likely to be spent dealing with cases that are alcohol-related.

Anita Rani spent 24 hours with Leicester's emergency service workers. She witnessed some of the challenges they face and saw just how stretched they can become.

At the A&E department in the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Anita met Adam, who after a few beers and a fall, couldn't fully recall what had actually happened to him.

While on the streets with Leicestershire Constabulary's own violence and disorder unit, Anita saw how officers try to stop trouble before it starts.

Is Britain's boozing culture draining the resources out of our emergency services? Do the Brits need alcohol to have a good time?

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  • 1. At 8:18pm on 01 Dec 2008, parbatsisodiya wrote:

    it was meant to be on tonight's show however it didn't show it. when will it be showed? Parbat.

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  • 2. At 7:09pm on 02 Dec 2008, leehardy3 wrote:

    my concern with articles such as these, inspired by the proposed reform of the drinking laws tomorrow, is that it is all blamed on the pubs and clubs. what is being ignored are the supermarkets selling alcohol as a loss leader. this is the law that needs looking at and not try to make the publican / licensees out to be the bad guys. in case you were wondering i am not in the pub game anymore but i have spent 27 years successfully running pubs.

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  • 3. At 7:09pm on 02 Dec 2008, MrMajestic14 wrote:

    If we had 24hr drinking i am sure binge drinking would start to fall, but we haven't. Pubs & clubs now shut at 2am/3am etc and all this has done is put the problem back a few hours. If these places stayed open until 6am/7am or we really did have 24hr drinking this would solve a lot of the problems.

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  • 4. At 7:15pm on 02 Dec 2008, Jambolet wrote:

    The NHS is already at the point where it is unable to provide services to people who genuinely need them. So why is it that a person can go out on a Friday or Saturday night, drink themselves into a state which requires hospitalisation and then recieve free medical care, taking up bed space and precious recources that can be better used to treat people who are genuinely ill. The message should be IF YOU BINGE DRINK YOU PAY FOR THE SERVICES - THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK. Make the charge high enough that they will think twice before doing it again.

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  • 5. At 7:16pm on 02 Dec 2008, leehardy3 wrote:

    24 hour drinking is probably the worst idea anyone ever had. everyone only has a certain amount of money to spend. creating a 24 hour openng only increases costs for the licensee. he/she still has to pay the staff, pay for the extra fuel bills etc etc but still only takes the same amount of money

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  • 6. At 7:28pm on 02 Dec 2008, sparkleYoungLizzie wrote:

    I am sixteen and everyone I know drinks, nowadays it is kind of a fact of life. It really irritates me because we drink at home safely and securely but still having fun although it is the teenagers who hang out at parks and on the streets that continue to drag the name of teenagers through the dirt.
    I hate how the news puts binge drinking across as if it is a new thing it's not its been happening for years, my dad was doorman and even he says that it used to happen back in his day.
    The person after the video also mentioned about how teenagers in britain take more drugs and drink more... SO WHAT...we also have a lot of good things to offer way more than we get credit for. We are the future so stop lecturing and start praising more.
    You can say what you like about my opinions. Frankly if you are not a teenager then you don't know the half of it.

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  • 7. At 7:29pm on 02 Dec 2008, rajeid1 wrote:

    Hi, Can i just get a mention for the guys in the Ambulance service who are usually missed out and who have to deal with the drink related incidents also. It aint a prity site.

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  • 8. At 7:32pm on 02 Dec 2008, wheatear6 wrote:

    I watched the item on late night drinking tonight and was a bit disappointed that the Christian organisations which walk the street at night at the weekend helping the police and other emergency services deal with people the worse for drink, or to comfort those who have been in fights or arguements were not mentioned. In Exmouth we run Nightshift each Sat eve from 11.30pm - 3.00am.

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  • 9. At 10:56am on 03 Dec 2008, grandlampathy wrote:

    I live in a border town in Northern Ireland and the numbers of people coming over the border to buy alcohol is frightening. With the strength of the euro and the recent drop in interest rates it's proving a boon to local shopowners. Just this past Saturday the queues in the local big brand supermarket meant I was able to read a chapter of my book whilst I was waiting to be served. The alcohol aisle was being supervised and there were people who where only there to buy crates of spirits, wines and beer.
    I've worked in pubs at home and in Wales. 10 years ago in Wales if we felt a patron had had too much we had the right to refuse to serve them. People rarely became belligerant, they recognised our authority. Nowadays it's a different story, you daren't refuse for fear for your safety.
    Personally, I stopped drinking last year not long after my one and only Coyote Ugly moment. I was so ashamed. In the past year, I've gone to 3 18th birthdays, a 40th birthday party, a family wedding and various award ceremony's, I've been stone cold sober at each and every one of them and I had the best of craic. I was always the first on the dance floor and one of the last to leave. I don't miss the vomiting, dodgy bottom or random unexplained bruises. Even though I've lost weight, my roseca is better and I'm healthier friends and family still try to get me to drink. I've noticed that often people are drinking to relax and have a good time because they're nervous. 9 times out of 10, drinking did not help them! It simply makes them out of control, loud and frequently boring and repetitive.

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  • 10. At 10:56am on 03 Dec 2008, geoflo112 wrote:

    People who place an additional burden on the NHS each week should pay for the service. Also, the following week they should report for sick duties - cleaning up other peoples sick and mess, just to see how vile it is. I appreciate this will need policing, however if we hit people's pockets and make them face up to how what they are doing affects others, maybe we will have a chance of stopping this. How about those selling drinks in pubs and clubs, surely they should have the decency to tell customers they have had enough to drink, and before it is too late.

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  • 11. At 9:29pm on 03 Dec 2008, HRHelisabeth wrote:

    I totally agree with comment 4... why is it that people who are drunk.. abusing police and health staff.. causing all sorts of grief get FREE medical care... i think they should be charged at least after at a second visit to casualty for a drink related issue in a year say. In other countries you dont get treated if you can't pay. Perhaps that puts people off getting into this type of situation!?

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  • 12. At 10:19pm on 03 Dec 2008, prettydaggers wrote:

    The drink culture in this country is getting out of hand. It is all because there are far too many hours in the day,and night for people to drink. As an older person,I feel very annoyed that our city centres are being turned into a no go zone for people over the age of 40. If my husband and myself want to go into town for a meal and a drink,we have to go before 9 pm. because after that the place is a war zone. Drunks lying in the streets,yobboes yelling at each other accross the street, ladies,(I use the term loosely,) cursing and swearing and falling about. They seem to think the whole world evolves around their age group.
    It is after all my town as well as theirs,but I'm being pushed out because they don't know how to behave. They seem to have unending amounts of money to spend. Half of them are on the dole and living off the state,but they can still find money for drink. Unless they are blitzzed out of their minds and falling in the gutters,they think they have'nt had a good night out.
    Lat xmas eve,my husband and I thought it would be nice to go into town,have a nice meal,then walk around and have a look at the xmas lights. Was I wrong !!! The town was overflowing with drunks,men and women. I's a bit scarey having to pass a lot of drunk guys all yelling abuse. My xmas eve was ruined.
    Raising the price of drink will not make one iota of difference. Anyway,why should people like me,who just go out and have a few glasses of wine with our meal,be treated the same as the drunken yobboes.
    We want our town centres back.
    But as usual,,,,all the powers that be can come up with is,,,,make the prices higher then they wont drink so much. Piffle.
    Helen from Carlisle

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  • 13. At 10:00am on 04 Dec 2008, midgymummy wrote:

    Throughout all the sessions at the A&E department the consistent comments from the staff were that their workload has increased through alcohol related problems and this increase has been since the government allowed 24 hour drinking. Would it be too much for the government to admit its error and revoke the laws that allow this situation to continue. The cost to the country in policing, provision of clean up squads and hospital admissions/treatment has got to be excessive. This country has the worst figures for binge drinking - is it any wonder! I would be happy to sign a petition requesting that the 24 hour drinking laws be revoked or changed and I am sure that many others would follow suit.

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  • 14. At 3:41pm on 04 Dec 2008, hilsanddel wrote:

    People who come in to Accident and Emergency, drunk, and cause issues, plus those who get arrested by the police and have to stay in overnight - plus are sick all over the place - these people should be made to pay for the problems they have caused. They can afford to go out and drink each weekend, and get sloshed - If they were hit in their pocket for their actions, then they might think twice. Those who have been arrested or brought to A& E say for 2-3 times, should also be put into the army for 2 years - that again might make them think. If someone says it is a loss of their human rights - then I say they don't have any when they act like they do.

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  • 15. At 8:53pm on 08 Dec 2008, lindley6 wrote:

    I think 24 hour drinking is a bad idea, the Doctors and Nurses in the Hospitals spend more time with people who have a drink related injury rather than people who really need the medical care. I think that if you end up in a hospital you should have to pay for the care you recieve as you are using the resources that someone else really needs. People should find some other way of entertaining themselfs rather than drinking all the time. I also think also that they shold get rid of the 24hr drinking and replace it with the smoking in pubs. For a long time I have been friends with Doctors who are fed up with the amount of drunks in A&E on a friday and saturday night. If you decided to get really drunk you should suffer the concequenses as a result and not blame the staff in in the Hospitals, if they don't get treated and get arrested, and the drunks only get arrested because they lash out at the staff when the staff are trying to help, I think people should be more responsible and if they have to have medical treatment they should PAY FOR IT!! as it costing us and the NHS money that we can't afford to spend!.

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  • 16. At 11:11pm on 14 Dec 2008, ladymindtwister wrote:

    Yes too much time is spent on drunks, some have hurt themselve, and do need treatment, some have missed the last bus and are hoping for a bed or a lift home in an ambulance, meanwhile other patients have to wait, but that is the way it has always been, and sorry to say the way it will always be. ex A&E worker.
    Vi. Northumberland

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  • 17. At 5:16pm on 16 Dec 2008, lilobishop wrote:

    Fully agree with comment number 4

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  • 18. At 01:40am on 19 Dec 2008, spolky wrote:

    Drunken louts are bleeding the NHS dry. Along with fatties, smokers and vain surgery-tourists they should be refused free treatment. If they want to abuse themselves then they should not also abuse the taxpayer: make them take out private medical insurance.

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  • 19. At 01:42am on 25 Dec 2008, ironearthmum wrote:

    18. At 01:40am on 19 Dec 2008, spolky wrote:
    Along with fatties, smokers and vain surgery-tourists they should be refused free treatment.
    It is ignorant comments like this, that help this government to take away our much valued public services.

    spolky has swallowed all of this propaganda without wondering why it is being put out in the first place.

    Firstly 'fatties' are not necessarily eating themselves to death, that is mainly a myth created by an evil government intent on taking away our NHS.
    The first step is to exclude those, who they can persuade the public to ostracise.

    'fatties' are being made fat by many ingredients in processed food, which interferes with the body's ability to deal effectively with the food we eat.

    It can also be because of steroid medication, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, flawed metabolism, an inability by the digestive tract to deal effectively with nutritional intake, and many, many other causes.

    Fluoride in water can cause many things including hypothyroidism.

    As to the drunks and A&E depts, we never had so much drunkenness before the advent of nightclubs and supermarkets selling booze at rock bottom prices, and 24 hour drinking laws.

    In the days of limited opening Off Licences and mainly pubs, there was far less drunkenness, because youngsters went for a drink among older people, who would correct their behaviour, teaching them to drink responsibly.

    Jane - Lincolnshire

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