'We need a medical bus on Grand Parade to keep the drunks out of A&E'

'We need a medical bus on Grand Parade to keep the drunks out of A&E'
Dr Chris Luke , Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Mercy Hospital. 

A MEDICAL bus should be in place on Grand Parade at weekends to care for drunken revellers to ensure they don’t end up in overcrowded emergency departments, a leading consultant in emergency medicine has said.

Dr Chris Luke, an emergency department specialist at Mercy University Hospital, has warned that intoxicated revellers can clog up A&Es and create an intimidating atmosphere for patients and staff.

Research on 29 hospital emergency departments in Ireland found that just under a third of all cases were alcohol-related at weekends. 

Dr Luke said minor issues involving drunk people should be dealt with outside the emergency department, and he suggested a fully-staffed medical bus on Grand Parade at weekends.

“In cities like Cork and Dublin, where there is a vibrant nightlife, there will be issues with people becoming intoxicated.

“This acute intoxication leads to falls, accidents and fights,” he added.

“It’s important to have a facility, a medical bus, staffed by doctors and nurses with Emergency Department experience, set up to cater for those who are intoxicated, to avoid sending them to an emergency department which is already overcrowded.”

Dr Luke said he has seen similar medical buses work successfully in Bristol, Belfast and at festivals such as Electric Picnic. 

He is also a keen supporter of the 'club health movement', a system of administering care to those intoxicated at clubs and festivals.

“Cork, as a tourist city, a cultural city and a university city, should be able to set the medical bus service up to ensure that those enjoying a night out are safe, while also keeping the emergency departments free to do their work,” he said.

Cork University Hospital is among the worst affected hospital in the country in terms of ED overcrowding.

More than 50 people were awaiting an inpatient bed in CUH yesterday, as the hospital recorded the highest figure in Ireland.

Research led by University Hospital Galway said more than half of people brought to emergency departments after taking alcohol were taken by ambulance.

An 11-month-old baby was among those found to be injured by another person’s intoxication.

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