Binge-drinking may not be to blame for the NHS A&E crisis, as alcohol-related ambulance calls in South Central England fell month on month at the end of last year.
Data obtained from South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust by the Soton Tab reveals that alcohol-related ambulance calls decreased by 13.7 per cent between August and December 2014.
The biggest drop in drunks’ dials was in December, when ambulances were called out 818 less times than the previous month.
The ambulance trust serves Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxford and Buckinghamshire. Included in that area is Southampton General Hospital, which has one of the UK’s worst performing Accident and Emergency departments, seeing only 76.4 per cent of patients within four hours.
Despite recent claims by College of Emergency Medicine president, Dr Cliff Mann, that alcohol is responsible for A&E patients “being a nuisance and for taking up vital A&E resources”, pressure from alcohol-related incidents has been easing off in the past five months in South Central England.
Ambulances called for 19 to 24 year-olds also dropped month on month, in contrast with the Metropolitan police’s figures suggesting that young adults are the most likely age group to be cuffed for being drunk and disorderly.
Among patients over 50, men were more than twice as likely to require an ambulance call-out for an alcohol-related incident. The gender gap, which stands at only 6 per cent among under 18s, quintupled to 34 per cent more men in the over 50s bracket.
The revelation comes as think-tank Centre for Social Justice urges ministers to introduce a two-pence-a-pint ‘treatment tax’ to fund rehab for alcoholics in response to failing A&E departments.
Hopeful VP Welfare candidate for SUSU, Sam Bailey, told the Soton Tab that he thinks it’s time students in the area were given a better name. He said:
I’d love to see the negative reputation students seem to have in the community change.
What do you think of these new findings? Can drunken students be blamed for clogging up A&E? Let us know in the comments below.