Taking alcohol into hospitals could be dangerous
and is placing an unnecessary burden on already hard-pressed NHS staff.
These are the key messages behind an
awareness-raising campaign which aims to discourage patients and well-meaning
visitors from bringing booze to the bedside in the city’s hospital wards.
Spearheaded by Liverpool City Council’s Public
Protection Team, the Hospital Watch campaign is about to be rolled out at
The campaign stresses the possible dangers to patients of taking alcohol on top of any medication they may be on while in hospital. It also highlights the potential for anti-social behaviour that drinking on the wards could bring.
Dr Tristan Cope, Medical Director at Aintree
University Hospital, said: “We understand that patients can be with us for a
long time and it can be an unsettling experience, however, it’s really
important that people don’t supply our patients with alcohol. When mixed with
medication, alcohol can be extremely dangerous and can also make people more
susceptible to antisocial behaviour, which is something our staff should never
have to deal with.
“While alcohol misuse isn’t a big issue for us,
we don’t want any of our patients to come to harm, so I welcome the support of
the city council and our surrounding retailers.”
As part of the campaign, Public Protection officers have enlisted the support of the local licensed trade around Liverpool’s hospitals.
In the run-up to the launch, council officers took
part in a number of test-purchases at off licences close to hospitals around
the city. The team members posed as patients and attempted to buy alcohol.
The undercover officers were served with alcohol at
13 of the 16 premises they visited, with no questions asked.
Since then, the Public Protection team has made
contact with the off licences and offered training to staff to help them to
refuse to serve anyone who is a hospital patient.
A subsequent test purchase operation resulted in officers being refused alcohol at all 16 off licences.
Hospital Watch posters and pull-up banners are placed in high-profile locations throughout the hospitals, whilst campaign packs, including leaflets for visitors and patients, are being distributed to individual wards and local off licences.
City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Cllr Paul Brant
said: “Whilst the issue of people bringing alcohol into hospital is a
relatively small one, it impacts on the services and the ability of the staff
to do their jobs properly.
nurses and other health care staff are forced to deal with a patient who is
suffering because of the adverse effects of alcohol, it takes them away from
caring for people who are sick and in need of their help.
appreciate that friends and family members may be trying to make a patient’s
stay in hospital more enjoyable, alcohol isn’t the answer. We would urge all
members of the public to take heed of the Hospital Watch message and keep
alcohol out of our hospitals.”
The campaign will eventually be rolled out to all
of Liverpool’s hospitals.