A&E staff at Bedford Hospital have seen an increase in
people being treated for injuries after they have been drinking.
Nationally 40 per cent of all A&E cases
during peak times are patients with a raised alcohol level.
Injuries that staff at
Bedford Hospital have seen range from head injuries, to overdoses and in a country where alcohol consumption has risen 120 per cent since the 1950s the situation looks set to get worse.
In a special Times & Citizen report we spoke to those in the know, and learned just what is being done here in the Borough to help people enjoy a drink, but without serious consequences.
A&E staff are not just dealing with life or death emergencies at Bedford Hospital, often workers see patients whose injuries could have been avoided if they had not been drinking.
Devasena Subramanyam, consultant of A&E medical at the hospital said: “It’s predominantly towards the weekend, on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Sometimes as a result of drinking people are not aware of what has happened and people are found in the streets with massive head injuries.”
She added: “Recently a patient was brought in who was drunk and out in the cold, luckily one of the shopkeepers called an ambulance but he was suffering from hypothermia.
“This happened in the late evening, not at night, luckily the shopkeeper called the ambulance otherwise it could have been very serious.”
Devasena also told how staff often separate the drunk patients from the rest of those seeking treatment in A&E.
She said: “Bedford Hospital’s Charity is having an appeal for a separate A&E for children which would be really helpful in these circumstances.
“Even now we try to separate these drunk people away from other patients by treating them in cubicles.”
If A&E staff treat a patient who has sustained injuries through drunken behaviour, they may encourage them to speak with the Community Alcohol Liaison Service (CALs).
Devasena added: “The very fact that patients are ending up in the hospital with injuries means that they do have underlying problems.”
CALs was founded in March 2012, and offers brief interventions and support for those who have, or think they may have a problem with drinking.
Support can take place in the hospital, or at a GPs surgery or community setting and so far more than 620 people have benefitted from the scheme.
Sometimes users of the service just need advice on how to cut down their alcohol consumption, or which drinks to switch to if they are having too many units.
The service is confidential and free and available for anyone aged 18 and over.
To make an appointment to see a CALs worker call 07729 542381 or 07858 083944.
Is drinking a problem in Bedford? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
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