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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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People warned to not drink too much this weekend as surge of alcohol-related injuries expected

The HSE has said patients may face longer waiting times at emergency departments due to an increase in people attending.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Lordn

THE HSE HAS warned that the bank holiday weekend will be very busy for emergency departments due to an increase in the number of people presenting with alcohol-related injuries. 

The organisation said there is always an increase in such cases over a public holiday such as St Patrick’s’ Day, but particularly when it falls on a weekend.

Dr Gerry McCarthy, the HSE’s Emergency Medicine Programme Lead, said all patients who present to EDs will be seen and treated, and “as always, the sickest and most urgent patients will be prioritised”.

However, he added that patients presenting with non-urgent injuries “should be aware that they may face longer waiting times depending on the number of patients attending EDs and the severity of patient illnesses”.

“There are lots of sporting events and leisure activities on this weekend that tend to drive traffic towards the health services,” he stated.

McCarthy said alcohol is always one of the main reasons for the increase in numbers attending EDs over a long weekend.

We see a lot of people presenting with injury or illness having had too much to drink and unfortunately that can put additional pressure on the system.

“Our wish is for everyone to enjoy the weekend and we hope you won’t have to come and see us.

“Unfortunately, as in previous years, we expect to see a significant number of patients presenting due to alcohol-related injuries and illness.

We know that most of these cases could have been avoided so we are asking everyone to be mindful and if they are drinking alcohol to be aware of the dangers and consequences of too much alcohol.

St Patrick’s weekend is a very busy time for the National Ambulance Service too. Martin Dunne, Director of the NAS, also encouraged people not to drink excessively.

Dunne reminded people that just because they are brought to hospital in an ambulance, it does not mean they will be seen quicker at an ED.

“Whilst we fully appreciate that this is a very special celebratory weekend in our national calendar and we appreciate that everyone will want to enjoy their weekend to its fullest, however we would appeal to everyone to do so in a safe and enjoyable way,” he said. 

The HSE also reminded people to never drink and drive, and for people on medication to consider the potential side effects of mixing it with alcohol.

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Órla Ryan

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