Timaru Hospital’s emergency department has been seeing an increase of drunken patients lately. The staff of the hospital has reported that they have been verbally abused and occasionally physically assaulted. The situation is getting out of hand and the staff is hoping that the government will make a change.
In a study done by Otago University, nurses were interviewed on the conditions they were facing in the hospital due to drunken patients. Every weekend, the staff had to deal with patients were drunk and very abusive towards them.
On long weekends, nurses expect the number of intoxicated patients to be greater. The deal with drunken patients of all ages and have noticed a problematic culture of irresponsible drinking.
One nurse that was interviewed stated: “The culture of drinking needs to be looked at. A lot of the time, people will wake up in the EDs in the morning and go, ‘Oh God, what’s happened?’ and have a laugh and walk out. They don’t realize how bad it is”.
Nearly all the nurses interviewed explained how intoxicated patients meant a more stressful night and only caused delays for other patients.