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To think drunks waste a lot of NHS money during the weekends

(98 Posts)
Dindipoop Sun 19-Mar-17 20:07:14

I know I'm being unreasonable, and know that every person deserves treatment no matter what, but I had to go to A&E yesterday after a tooth infection left me vomiting, with cold shivers and dizziness. I thought it was the beginning of sepsis, which turned out to be right.

Last night, whilst I waited with a drip attached to my arm, and feeling really shit, 3 different people, drunk, and one of them came along with 3 family members with a spar bag full of goodies and snacks. They were sat talking, making crude and racist jokes and burping. I managed to give them a death stare and they stopped, but still carried on with the eating and burping and taking advantage of the hospital's free coffee and tea.

One of the drunks, was constantly walking about and talking incoherently even though he couldn't balance. At point he fell right in my feet and almost pulled the canula out of my arm. After this he was taken to a cubicle and made to stay there.

The third, was a woman with vomit all down her leg, she'd been seen by the doctor and just sat there and then exclaimed she was free to go home but carried on sitting there because buses didn't start until 5am. It was 3am by then and the waiting area was getting busier with only a few seats available.

It was absolutely ridiculous. I can't believe how a&e was being treated like a playground and family day out by them.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sun 19-Mar-17 20:15:46

I totally agree. I think if you're going for -self inflicted due to alcohol- issues you should be forced to pay for care. So selfish.

PollyBanana Sun 19-Mar-17 20:17:18

My worst shift in A&E as a student nurse was when a very drunk bloke was admitted. He'd fallen over while pissed and hit his head so he was being monitored to check whether his rambling incoherence was due to booze or a head injury.
I had to do his observations every 5 minutes, he was thrashing about and totally uncooperative.
Then he soiled himself with diarrhoea, so I had to clean that up.

Official diagnosis and treatment on discharge?
Acute alcohol toxicity. Plenty of water and sleep it off.

What a waste of my time

Neverknowing Sun 19-Mar-17 20:21:05

I know I'm also bu but I do think these people should have to pay for their care. Especially considering the post recently about the woman who couldn't get life prolonging cancer drugs because the NHS couldn't afford it sad

ivykaty44 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:21:23

Should it be the same for other types of self inflicted injuries and condition?

Schmoozer Sun 19-Mar-17 20:22:16

Yes you are right
As a health care prof I was told that not so long ago the tipping point was reached where the benefits to the gov in tax from alcohol is now outweighed by the cost to health service, police and social care, and that has triggered an all out drive to reduce alcohol consumption
Takes a long time for culture and habits to change though ......
What a waste of resources

Crowdblundering Sun 19-Mar-17 20:24:07

What about smokers, over weight people, self harmers, people driving dangerously, people on other drugs, people who have had stupid household accidents which are their own fault?

Where do you draw the line?

Boyfriend went out on an all day drinking session (so was quite pissed) and his lung collapsed (spontaneous pneumothorax - so not falling over/injuring and 3rd time it happened) and he was really worried about going to the hospital because he was drunk. He said hospital was full of annoying drunk people.

The problem though, is where would you stop at charging people? Motorbike accident? Skiing accident? And then also do you charge obese people for obesity related illnesses, anorexic people for their illness?

So whilst I agree that drunk people taking up resources is a piss take, I don't think they should be charged for it

Dindipoop Sun 19-Mar-17 20:25:34

polly flowers, the way the nurses were handling them was amazing, but they looked so frustrated. You guys do a brilliant job.

I think getting these people to pay wouldn't work, because where would the cut off point be? But certainly something different could be done with the way they're handled so they're not admitted to the same place where "real" ill people are.

Amber76 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:26:37

My dh is a police officer and he often says he wouldn't have anything to do at work if it wasn't for all the people needing assistance in some way because of problems brought on through alcohol.
Eg - fights starting between drunk people at 2am, drink driving incidents, domestic violence incidents where one or both parties have been drinking all day, people refusing to pay taxi fare as they drunkenly think they're being ripped off, the list goes on. And the A and E is full of people who are drunk at weekends. I remember hearing an Emergency doctor on the radio saying huge resourced are wasted on patients who symptoms are unclear as they could have been caused by an accident or could be the effects if alcohol... but they must be monitored regardless.

Meekonsandwich Sun 19-Mar-17 20:33:17

Story time!!!! I went out with some friends and for the first time frank heavily. I drank a litre bottle of whiskey in the space of 2 hours and predictably collapsed outside the restaurant. Ambulance came andfrom what I remember they were so lovely and I was frightened. Went into hospital and had a drip, and left the next day at 3am. The nurses didnt judge. They were kind and professional. But to them I was probably like every other pissed up teenager and they could have assumed Ibinged drank every weekend when actually it was my first time getting drunk and I just drank too fast.
I have since never gotten drunk again and its a joke between my friends and I.

But unless these people are coming in every weekend how do you know they didn't make a mistake like I did??

And If they do then they clearly have alcohol issues, and need help that way. After all like it was said above where do you draw the line at Self inflicted health Issues? I'm sure plenty of you are overweight maybe smoke? You're telling me that if you got colon/lung cancer youd gracefully decline treatment to help save money for someone more deserving??? Hmmmm. I think every one deserves help.

Tissunnyupnorth Sun 19-Mar-17 20:33:21

But in all the other cases that are raised, they don't cause a pressure cooker (and therefore massively increased pressure on resources) effect on a Fri or Sat night do they? A & E is not full of skiers, obesity related cases and anorexic sufferers in high numbers during weekend requiring immediate care.

Squeegle Sun 19-Mar-17 20:36:44

There is a massive problem with alcohol in this country, and the government don't seem willing to do anything to counter it. It's not just the hospitals, it's the police, public transport - all are badly affected by people not taking care of themselves due to far too much to drink.

Valentine2 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:36:55

I so want NHS to make these fugures public. I want to see what a massive chunk must be going on THESE and the ambulances that are needed. It's a national disgrace if you ask me that these fuckers aren't made to pay for their "sickness". angry

HelenaDove Sun 19-Mar-17 20:37:02

I was overweight Meekon. I lost ten stone. Ive never been drunk though. Its never interested me.

HelenaDove Sun 19-Mar-17 20:39:10

Excellent point Tissunny. Its weekend binge drinking thats causing the problem.

londonrach Sun 19-Mar-17 20:41:34

A diabetic can appear drunk but yanbu. However i do know a friend who died at uni due to being drunk and wasnt found till the next morning dead.

Valentine2 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:41:57

Meek
Your post is so patronising and bordering on offensive and sneery.
Tell me please. Would you still have taken that half a bottle at that speed had you known if you something happened, you will have to pay for treatement?
I only agree with the point regarding obesity and smoking. If you are a smoker and you get lung cancer, you should be paying the cost of treatement. (Yes I know the it's a minor oversimplification scientifically in there but NHS is fucking collapsing!). I think a deterrent is needed in all these cases.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Sun 19-Mar-17 20:48:54

Yes I think the fact that there is a glut on weekends shows that people can control what they drink and make a conscious decision to drink to excess. It's not exactly the same as having a life-threatening eating disorder like anorexia hmm

I'd have absolutely no problem with drunkards being charged a nominal amount for attending A&E. A relative of mine did a 6-month stint as a facial surgeon in A&E, weekends only, as he needed extra money. ALL the cases he saw in those 6 months were due to excessive alcohol consumption. What a waste. But discussing this seems to be a taboo in this country.

Maisy84 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:53:05

I'm really on the fence with this one, my dad is an alcoholic (although never presented at A&E) and my sister works as a consultant for the NHS. There comes a point where people should have to take responsibility for themselves but I do believe alcoholism is an illness. However, where does it end if you start charging for this? I'd worry about the homeless etc being left to die.

unascitas Sun 19-Mar-17 21:04:05

Smoking is a poor comparison because smokers pay a bomb in tax and kill themselves off earlier so claim less money in state pension and associated benefits. Alcohol although it carries some tax I'm pretty sure doesn't come close to paying for the health and social problems it causes.

madein1995 Sun 19-Mar-17 21:06:50

Drunk people might not just been there because they're drunk for eg. When in uni I visited A and E twice, once with a dislocated shoulder and once with a dislocated leg. Both injuries happened on nights out, and despite having had a bit to drink I'd not drank loads and they were accidents.

Agree re. where you draw the line. Because alcoholism is an illness, one people can recover from but an illness nonetheless. You'd never suggest making people who self harm pay for their care, so why is it different for people with alcohol issues? They're both ill and need help, it's just that one is deemed more deserving of sympathy than others.

I don't think the blame for it can be attributed to individuals, this country's attitude to alcohol is all wrong. Just look at the 'wine o'clock' messages all over social media, all the wine or gin themed stuff for mother's day, the fact that the main character in every soap or cop drama pours themselves a large scotch after a bad day. None of those things are healthy, yet we're conditioned to accept it. 'Our' attitude to drink makes cutting down or stopping drinking a hard task, if only due to society's influence.

Valentine how would it be enforced though? Most of these people are likely not very rich (or they'd go private) and how would you deal with it if they couldn't pay? Do you not think that by implementing that rule, the drunk who's smashed his hand open will simply wrap it in a dirty tea towel and drink even more. He won't not drink to excess in the first place. Because to achieve the latter, and thus real results, we need more services for people to get sober, not punishments. (The state of help available in my area is dire - I know of someone who did did detox but then because of funding wasn't allowed to stay longer than 3 days, with no aftercare offered for a further 2 weeks. Literally all they did was wean her off the alcohol, no strategies or further support. So obviously after 15 years of drinking, she'll go right back to it. Because the help wasn't there)

IamFriedSpam Sun 19-Mar-17 21:07:29

I wouldn't judge someone who drank too much on one occasion and needed hospital anymore than I would judge someone who fell of their BMX bike or skateboard trying to do a trick. I wouldn't judge someone who is suffering from addiction either.

OTOH I do massively judge people that regularly get drunk enough to require medical treatment either through stupid accidents or alcohol poisoning and especially those who then go on to act abusively to hospital staff.

thedcbrokemybank Sun 19-Mar-17 21:08:00

I agree but I think we all need to start taking more responsibility for our own health.
* A & E is not full of skiers, obesity related cases and anorexic sufferers in high numbers during weekend requiring immediate care*
Actually I bet there are a significant number of obesity related cases in A and E. Heart attacks, type 2 diabetes related issues, musculoskeletal injuries etc
As other posters have stated; where do we draw the line?

ForalltheSaints Sun 19-Mar-17 21:08:58

Making people pay for A+E when alcohol related would be one thing, though how you would get the money out of them is another. Better still to start charging more tax for drink sold in supermarkets, and post Brexit, restrict the amount you can bring from abroad.

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