Britain on the booze: how a night of alcohol impacts the NHS | Society | The Guardian

He simply didn’t heed the warnings about his liver; he would turn yellow, be admitted, detoxified and discharged again and again for a year and a half until finally on one admission he died. He was a good-looking guy; his girlfriend and family deserted him because they were so angry that he chose over them, so he died alone.

She was the life and soul of the clinic; she was like a ray of sunshine whenever she walked in. She was so chatty and sociable, knew everyone’s names, and was afraid of no one. She had migrated on to alcohol from heroin, and saw this as real progress, she kept stopping to prove she could do it, and that was her undoing. She got Wernicke’s encephalopathy from recurrent detoxification which caused memory problems, confusion and a severe tremor, which meant she lost the ability to care for herself and had to go into a nursing home. I heard a year or two later she died there.

I’m appalled by the amount of time and resources spent by the NHS treating people who get drunk. New army recruits spend much time preparing for active service without necessarily engaging in it. Why can’t incapacitated drunks be assessed and treated by trained army personnel on the streets or in mobile units? This takes the pressure off paramedics and healthcare professionals in A&E and gets army personnel actively and visibly serving their communities, teaching them how to manage people who are incapacitated through alcohol and/or drugs, how to contain situations where aggression may be a problem and how to defuse volatile situations. It is not the role of the NHS to babysit people who don’t know when they’ve had enough. We should also charge people who abuse the NHS in this way – and by charge I mean financially, legally or both.

Steven Morris in Cardiff, Libby Brooks in Glasgow, Kate Lyons in Leicester, Jessica Elgot in Stoke, Lisa O’Carroll in Southampton, Josh Halliday in Manchester, Zoe Williams in Liverpool and Mark Rice-Oxley in London

We’ve had some heartbreaking responses from professionals about the people they routinely come across. The general message seems to be that doctors and nurses try not to judge those with alcohol problems who repeatedly end up in hospital, but sometimes find it hard not to be moved by this tragedy.

 

 

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