UK Considers 'Drunk Tanks' to Ease Strain on Health Services

People who just need place to 'sleep it off' are hogging emergency rooms, ambulances
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 29, 2017 5:09 PM CST
   (Getty Images/tzahiV)

(Newser) – British health officials are considering turning to so-called drunk tanks to ease the strain on emergency rooms and ambulance services caused by heavy drinkers, the AP reports. NHS England said Friday that researchers are looking at whether Alcohol Intoxication Management Services, commonly known as drunk tanks, may be rolled out on a national level. They are already used in some cities.

NHS England chief Simon Stevens says heavy drinking is diverting resources needed by sick people. "NHS doesn't stand for 'National Hangover Service,'" he said. He says it is wrong for health workers to devote precious time to people who "just need somewhere to safely sleep it off." Officials estimate that 12% to 15% of emergency room visits are due to acute alcohol intoxication, with figures much higher on weekend nights.


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