Head of Britain’s NHS demands national roll-out of drunk tanks


Head of Britain’s NHS demands national roll-out of drunk tanks

Julie Hyland

3 January 2018

Simon Stevens, chief executive of the National Health Service, issued a statement in the run-up to the New Year festivities that should have been a cause for national concern.

Stevens denounced record levels of drunkenness that were in danger of transforming the NHS into the “National Hangover Service.”

Those fixated on becoming intoxicated during the holiday season were “frankly selfish,” Stevens said, under conditions in which “ambulance paramedics and A&E nurses,” who were otherwise “pulling out all the stops to care for sick and vulnerable patients,” had to be diverted to “looking after revellers who have overindulged and who just need somewhere to safely sleep it off.”

Stevens suggested that the solution would be to roll-out “drunk tanks” nationally. Alcohol Intoxication Management Services—most often set up in adapted lorries, buses or former cafes—currently exist in 19 major cities. First initiated in Bristol in 2013, they now include Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester and Newcastle and are equipped with wipe-down beds, mops and buckets.

According to NHS England, as reported by the Guardian, an “estimated 12-15 percent of attendances at emergency departments in the UK are due to acute alcohol intoxication,” while around the Christmas festivities as much as “70 percent of attendances can be alcohol-related.”

These are extraordinary figures, which should prompt the question: Why are so many individuals—over a 12-day period—in such an alcohol-associated state that they need emergency admission to hospital?

However, before seeking such an answer it must be stressed that the figures released are being used to legitimise an attack on current,…

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