Health News

Drunk Tanks May Soon Be Normal In The UK

Photo from Pixabay

Mobile drunk tanks may soon become the norm in the United Kingdom in order to keep “selfish” revelers out of emergency rooms, according to the head of NHS England.

Simon Stevens announced that the department will be tracking how these mobile units cope with what is expected to be an increase in drunkenness this New Year’s Eve before deciding if these drunk tanks will be a constant presence, the BBC reports.

These units provide wasted people with a safe place to sleep the alcohol off, and are often used to prevent them from going to A&E. Cities in the UK, such as Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol have already introduced what are also called booze buses.

Stevens said he might recommend that other cities and towns implement these buses year-round, as an estimated 15% of entries at A&E are alcohol-related. This jumps to 70% on Friday and Saturday nights. He said,

I’ve seen first-hand how paramedics and A&Es are being called on to deal with drunk and aggressive behavior.

Dr. Katherine Henderson, a consultant in emergency medicine from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, contends that it might be better to put in efforts into preventing actual drinking. She said, “By making this facility, it’s like saying ‘you can depend on the NHS to provide you with a safe place to sober up.’ You’re saying ‘there’s a safety net for you’, rather than saying ‘how are you going to get yourself and your friends home safely’?”

NHS frontline staff in these mobile units might also be helping others instead of tending to drunks. But she does agree that the last thing busy hospitals need are more patients in A&E. “We are seeing people who are so intoxicated that they need to be on a trolley – which takes up a whole cubicle space; people who need cleaning up – which takes up a lot of nursing time; and people with serious injuries, who may be difficult to spot among the many that are extremely drunk.”

Officially known as an alcohol recovery center, the drunk tanks are state-of-the-art facilities housed in a 60-foot long truck. Each vehicle has beds, seats, showers, and is equipped with medical drips, oxygen, blood testing equipment and a pump system. Paramedics who provide basic treatment man the buses.

Stevens reminded people to drink responsibly. “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 revelers who have overindulged.” He said, “NHS doesn’t stand for ‘National Hangover Service.’”

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.