During my long career as a minister I often attended the local infirmary’s A&E department when a parishioner was involved in a serious road accident or some other emergency.
Forty years ago, Friday and Saturday evenings were a nightmare as Scotland’s infamous legion of violent, noisy drunks clogged up the wards and frightened patients and staff.
Today, with 24-hour drinking and the pervasive availability of narcotics, paramedics can be seen struggling with some intoxicated hooligan at any hour of the day or night.
So I fully support the senior nurses calling for “drunk tanks” – special units in town centres or hospitals where people can sober up – to be piloted across the country.
The sad fact is our NHS spends £4 billion a year treating alcohol-related illnesses and we have Europe’s highest rates of liver and oesophageal disease as well as type 2 diabetes.
(Dr) John Cameron