NHS chief warns 'drunk tanks' may be used to keep people out of A&E

Posted On: 
29th December 2017

The NHS may start using mobile 'booze buses' to stop "selfish" revellers from putting unnecessary pressure on A&E units.

Simon Stevens blamed 'selfish' revellers for putting pressure on A&Es
Credit: 
PA

The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said he would be monitoring how drunk tanks work in the New Year period to see if they can be rolled out on a more regular basis.

The first facility was launched in a converted lorry in Bristol three years ago, complete with medical equipment, beds and showers to help people sober up. 

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It is estimated as many as 15% of visits to A&E is related to excessive drinking, with the figure soaring to around 70% on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Mr Stevens accused partygoers of putting the health service under strain, saying: "I've seen first-hand how paramedics and A&Es are being called on to deal with drunk and aggressive behaviour.

"When the health service is pulling out all the stops to care for sick and vulnerable patients who rightly and genuinely need our support, it's frankly selfish when ambulance paramedics and A&E nurses have to be diverted to looking after revellers who have overindulged.

"NHS doesn't stand for 'National Hangover Service'."