Inquiry launched into the impact of alcohol on Emergency Services

This was reported by Alcohol Concern in early September.

alcohol and A&E

Image courtesy of Peter Dench, Alcohol and England




The All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm has today launched an Inquiry into the ‘Impact of alcohol on the Emergency Services’.

The Inquiry will examine the way in which alcohol-related incidents and injuries place a strain on emergency services in the UK and how this impacts our emergency workers and their ability to carry out their jobs.

Alcohol-related harm costs the NHS £3 billion per year and places a huge amount of pressure on our emergency services, particularly at the weekends. The APPG Chair, Fiona Bruce MP and officers welcome the opportunity to hear from emergency workers, professionals and stakeholders to learn about key front-line issues and how they relate to alcohol.

Fiona Bruce, Chair of Alcohol Harm APPG, said: “The costs of alcohol harm to the UK are huge, not only in terms on lives lost but also through the significant impact on society. The strain that is placed on our emergency services is enormous and I encourage the public, emergency workers and interested bodies to submit evidence.

“A central objective of the inquiry will be to build a clear picture of the time and resources that alcohol related harm has across the Emergency Services. The Inquiry will also be holding oral evidence sessions in Parliament in October, where we have invited representatives from the Emergency Services to speak.”

Notes to editors

For further on the Inquiry, please click here.

Alcohol Concern provides the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm with funding from the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck Ltd.

The APPG on Alcohol Harm exists to promote discussion of alcohol-related issues, raise issues of concern and make recommendations to Government and other policy makers.

So following the collation of the  written evidence the completed findings were published on Monday which you can read here courtesy of Alcohol Policy UK:

Alcohol’s impact on emergency services: IAS report

Key findings include:

  • Violence against emergency services is ubiquitous, with 76% of police, and 50% of ambulance staff having been injured on the job as a result of drunken violence
  • Between a third and a half of emergency service staff have suffered sexual harassment or assault in the line of duty
  • Alcohol takes up as much as half of emergency service time
  • Emergency services are increasingly stretched, with over 90% of police and ambulance staff reporting they have performed the role of another blue light service in dealing with alcohol-related incidents
  • Over half of emergency service staff feel inadequately trained to deal with alcohol-related incidents

If you’re more of a visual learner then this excellent video sums it all up:

As a nurse who has staffed in A&E and on a ward taking drug and alcohol post A&E admission patients I can vouch for the level of verbal abuse, physical threats and sexual harassment we are subject to.

Not just us nurses object and are asking for change, so are the police:

Police call for end to 24-hour licensing over alcohol-related violence

So All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm now you have the evidence and it is compelling .  So in the words of one of my former patients, who having verbally threatened me and who I then tried to defend myself against replied by way of taunt ‘what are you going to do about it?’ ……….

PS Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of the start of this blog (you can read that first blog post here & yes this used to be called the electrum blog!).  I can’t believe I’ve been here writing pretty much every day for all of that time!!  From next week I’m dropping my post frequency to every other day as recommended by many of you when I asked the question here, excluding Alcohol Awareness Week in November and my sober advent calendar when I’ll be back every day  😉

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