Ipswich: We’re here to help all alcohol-related cases – A&E doctor

IPSWICH: We’re here to help.

That’s the verdict of one Ipswich Hospital A&E doctor who today said it is his department’s job to look after those who need medical attention – even if they have drunk too much.

His comments come after Ipswich MP Ben Gummer suggested patients who inflict alcohol-induced illness upon themselves should be forced to pick up the bill for their treatment.

David Hodgkinson, a consultant in emergency medicine at the Heath Road trust, said his team was there to help people whatever their illness and regardless of whether it is self-inflicted.

Yesterday, The Star revealed that the number of men and women being admitted to Ipswich Hospital for alcohol-related issues had spiralled by around 50 per cent in the last three years.

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The number of drunk women coming through the doors has soared by 57pc which the figure for intoxicated men has risen by 46pc since 2008/09.

Dr Hodgkinson said “prevention is always better than cure” but said it was not a doctor’s place to take a political line on the issue.

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“It is a politician’s job to be political. I don’t have a political comment to make,” he said.

“Alcohol can cause serious injury and death in all age groups through intoxication, violence and trauma.

“As an emergency department that is what we are there for, because you can’t deny people care if they have got themselves into trouble for whatever reason.

“Alcohol in excess gets people in trouble through intoxication as well as trauma.

“We have got the skills and are here to pick up the pieces.

“But often we can’t pick up the pieces and that is why prevention is always better than cure.

“I would prefer for people not to get in those situations through excessive drinking.”

He said the department have seen a “steady rise” in the number of people coming through the doors having drunk in excess but denied there has been a “noticeable step up”.

n What do you think about the issue? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk

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