Alcohol incidents result in ED overload

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Alcohol-related injuries and illness contributed to a record number of people being treated at Hawke's Bay Hospital during the holiday period.

The hospital's Emergency Department saw 152 people on Boxing Day and a record 157 patients on New Year's Day.

Emergency Consultant Scott Boyes said people's excessive alcohol made their job extremely difficult and was the main cause of injuries at this time of year.

Medical staff worked long hours, and were often abused by intoxicated patients with this silly season one of the worst the hospital had encountered.

"The toll alcohol injuries have on families, on our staff and other emergency services is huge - it's unacceptable that so many people, including small children, are affected by people making unwise decisions or becoming violent and abusive to family when they have had too much to drink."

He said intoxicated patients were harder to diagnose, abusive to staff and often needed a security or police presence.

Hawke's Bay Police Inspector Andy Sloan said a high percentage of attendances over the holiday period were linked to intoxication.

"Family violence, traffic accidents and assaults were often all alcohol-related ... sadly those decisions not only affect them but often other innocent people who are caught up in those bad decisions," Mr Sloan said.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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