Revellers are being encouraged to drink sensibly over the festive season after staff at York Hospital’s emergency department were recently spat at and one worker was punched during drink-fuelled incidents.
On the first weekend of December the hospital’s emergency department was exceptionally busy with people who had been brought to hospital in an intoxicated state.
There were incidents of appalling behaviour. Staff were spat at, sworn at and one was punched and mauled.
Health chiefs said that during Saturday night a significant part of the workload for emergency department staff was compromised by very drunk, disruptive people.
The disruption took place in amongst other unwell and needy patients, including some who were elderly and frail as well as children.
Dr Alastair Turnbull, Medical Director at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said yesterday: “It is both disrupting and upsetting for other patients and staff when people come to the department in this state and behave in this way.
“The hospital is here to help everyone but we expect and ask patients to behave responsibly and considerately.
“It is in the interests of all that alcohol is consumed sensibly, but sadly the consequences of harmful drinking are significant for individuals, their families and the NHS.
“The Trust will not condone or permit abusive and disruptive behaviour.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of health and wellbeing at York Council, said he was concerned by incidents at the hospital and urged revellers to be responsible when out and about enjoying the festivities.
He said: “The reports of the incidents that took place in York Hospital’s Emergency Department earlier this month have shocked me.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas and often this does include drinking alcohol, but I would urge people to take some personal responsibility for staying safe and protecting the NHS services we all pay for.”
Since April this year the council has a responsibility for the city’s public health and yesterday members of the public were urged to pace themselves when out and about and not to drink more than they are used to.