Hospital staff in fear of drunken patients

Drunk patients are costing the NHS millions of pounds a year and leaving medics in constant fear of being attacked.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:46 pm
The University Hospital of North Tees

A new report from Balance estimates that alcohol costs the NHS in the region £242m, equating to £93 per person per year, and natiuonally totalling £2.7bn annually.

The report also found hospital staff experience physical, verbal and sexual assaults from patients under the influence of alcohol.

James Cook Hospital, where nine year old Mackenzy Teare is recovering after he was burnt while having a bath at his home when his brother's friend sprayed deodorant at him. October 6 2015. See Ross Parry copy RPYBURNS : Police arrested a teenager after a nine-year-old boy was set on fire with an aerosol can - while he was in the BATH. Brave Mackenzy Teare was washing himself when a 13-year-old friend of his older brother burst in and set the water ablaze by lighting a deodorant spray. Mackenzy 's quick-thinking mum, Sarah, covered him in a wet towel - something she'd learned from Channel 4 TV programme 999: What's Your Emergency? Paramedics told her that if she had not have taken such decisive action his burns could have been far worse. Little Mackenzy, who celebrates his 10th birthday today is covered in burns from his head to his stomach.

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Alcohol misuse is placing an unsustainable burden on the region’s emergency departments and urgent care services, according to a new report released today by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.

A senior nurse at University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, said: “I have experienced verbal and physical abuse from patients who were under the influence of alcohol.

“Drunken patients just aren’t bothered if you tell them their swearing and shouting is a disruption to others around them.

“It is totally unacceptable and hugely upsetting to other patients. Many colleagues are disheartened with the abuse and agree that enough is enough.”

James Cook Hospital, where nine year old Mackenzy Teare is recovering after he was burnt while having a bath at his home when his brother's friend sprayed deodorant at him. October 6 2015. See Ross Parry copy RPYBURNS : Police arrested a teenager after a nine-year-old boy was set on fire with an aerosol can - while he was in the BATH. Brave Mackenzy Teare was washing himself when a 13-year-old friend of his older brother burst in and set the water ablaze by lighting a deodorant spray. Mackenzy 's quick-thinking mum, Sarah, covered him in a wet towel - something she'd learned from Channel 4 TV programme 999: What's Your Emergency? Paramedics told her that if she had not have taken such decisive action his burns could have been far worse. Little Mackenzy, who celebrates his 10th birthday today is covered in burns from his head to his stomach.

Ian Blain, consultant in emergency medicine at The James Cook University Hospital, said: “I have witnessed doctors and nurses - both male and female – having to deal with aggressive patients or family members in the emergency department - and often, that aggression stems from alcohol abuse.

“It’s something we simply will not tolerate in our department and also very distressing for other patients.

“I have experienced patients under the influence of alcohol swinging at me and kicking at me while I am trying to treat them and have had to call security to restrain those patients and control them.”

Sue Taylor, partnerships manager at Balance said: “Probably the most shocking aspect of our report is the fact that so many urgent care staff expect to experience physical and verbal abuse as a result of alcohol, as part of their working lives.

“It’s clear that alcohol is placing a huge burden on urgent care staff, who are committed to helping us when we need them the most. At a time when the NHS is already under massive pressure, alcohol is placing an unnecessary and unsustainable weight on time and resources. This report reinforces the fact that we need to bring alcohol harms under control by making alcohol less affordable, available and widely promoted.”