Drunk people coming to A&E have made emergency departments “a hostile environment” for many patients – but charging people who have been drinking is not the answer to overcrowding, doctors have said.Hmm, I wonder what the answer is then?
Could it be ‘paying doctors more’, or ‘hiring more of them’..?
Dr Tom Black, chair of the BMA’s Northern Ireland General Practitioners Committee said that, while drink and drugs were causing major problems on A&E, charging patients would backfire.
“In A&E at the moment we have a situation where demand from drinkers and drug-addled people is blocking off other patients in need,” he said.
“Some patients now regard A&E as a hostile environment which they’ll only go to as a last resort – that’s not good enough. We have to find a way to discriminate between needs and demands.”
However, asking for payment at hospital would harm the doctor-patient relationship, he said. “But from a doctor’s point of view, why would you want to put your hand out before you see someone? If you’re at a barbecue, have a few beers too many and somebody hits a cricket ball that knocks you on the head, do you turn up at A&E and get fined because you’ve got a few beers in you? it doesn’t seem reasonable and it would cause such value judgements to be introduced that I can’t see doctors wanting it.”Woah, hold on there! You already have made value judgements.
You decided that the elderly could safely be starved and dehydrated to death, you decided (for decades) that FGM was a ‘cultural thing’ that you shouldn’t concern yourselves with, you decided that people who used a perfectly legal recreational substance were beyond the pale, and you decided that a woman’s demands are sacrosanct, so what the hell do the laws of the land really mean…
So…what’s one more value judgement?