Charge for A&E care if a person is intoxicated.

7 Comments 11th January 2015

If a person requiring A&E care is intoxicated to such an extent that their being drunk is a contributary factor in their requiring emergency treatment, then that person should be made to take responsibility for their actions and face the financial consequences for their actions.

Why does this matter?

When budgets are being stretched and the government is looking to save costs an already beleagured NHS is once again in the firing line for cost-cutting. Therefore any idea which could alleviate some of the drain on both NHS resources and budgets should be seriously considered.

This is not about the dismantling of the NHS and its ‘care for all’ ethos. It is about being pragmatic and having a realistic attitude to the modern world we live in. We know there has to be a finite budget allocated to the NHS. We know then that this means there is a finite number of people who can be cared for within this budget. Therefore any unnecessary drain on that budget should be identified and curtailed.

A&E care is by definition costly and labour intensive, so having the added pressure of dealing with apparently increasing numbers of patients who require treatment either directly or indirectly due to their being intoxicated is a serious cause for concern.

We should therefore make in known that we as a community are longer willing to subsidise people who through their own lack of self control with regards to alcohol, find themselves needing medical treatment. They should be made to take responsibility for their own actions so that the financial burden for their treatment comes not out of the public purse but out of their own pocket. Maybe then they will exhibit more self control next time and maybe then there will be more money available for treating people with more serious conditions.

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7 Responses to Charge for A&E care if a person is intoxicated.

  1. colin maggs says:

    I support this idea. I have written to my MP, Jeremy Hunt who is Minister of Health, who dismissed it.

    The proposition is well argued and i need say no more.

  2. mark says:

    What a great idea. As the NHS is suffering cuts, this would be a bonus. There are far more serious cases the NHS needs to deal with, without the need for drunken idiots clogging up the system. Also consider those people who come in to be treated by NHS staff, doctors, nurses and ambulance personnel and are abusive to them either way to pay up as well.

  3. simon says:

    What a ridiculous idea – unless of course you’re also saying that we should be charging people who get diabetes because they’ve been fat and not exercised for YEARS or people with lung cancer because they’ve smoked for 20+ years?

    Heck, whilst we’re at it, why not make couples pay for deliveries of their children and all their check-ups? After all, in this day and age of contraception it’s all their own fault and their own choice for deciding to have a baby?!

  4. William Adams says:

    Now here is a good idea. A visit by any self respecting person who has need of Emergency Care at A&E has to join a que of drunks. Not only are they abusive to staff but to their own bodies with drink, drugs and platform shoe strained ankles. I would estimate at least one third are like that in any A&E of any evening in most parts of the urban country.

  5. Jason says:

    What about where you are out for a meal (or indeed more than a few drinks) with friends and someone hits you unprovoked?
    Although it wasn’t your fault, you would be denied “free” healthcare as you were only in that position because you were out socialising, thus making it a contributory factor.
    By extension, all emergency healthcare could become paid for as whatever you were doing at the time of incident could be called a contributory factor.

  6. C Jones says:

    As the NHS is unwilling to enforce present requirements of checking eligibility for treatment, before treating, and recovering costs from overseas patients do you honestly believe it would even try and enforce such a policy? This is the same road Tony Blair went down with police meant to march drunks to cash machines to pay on-the-spot fines – just not doable.

  7. Jonathan says:

    It is a question of Priority – Those that have taken excessive non prescription drugs or are over intoxicated should have less priority than those more responsible members of the public in the event of services being overburdened.

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