The BMA is urging revellers to act responsibly this weekend amid fears that emergency departments could see a sharp rise in alcohol-related attendances as pubs and bars reopen under new lockdown rules.
Emergency departments have seen a reduction in alcohol-related injuries during lockdown, however emergency departments are operating with significantly reduced capacity having been re-structured to allow for social distancing in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
This has left doctors very concerned that the new lockdown rules will lead to undue pressure being placed on NHS emergency services.
Dr Simon Walsh, BMA emergency medicine lead said: “The Government’s decision to re-open pubs and bars on a Saturday has created a so-called ‘countdown to carnival’ and there is a real concern that emergency departments could see a surge in alcohol-related emergency attendances on Saturday.
“A sudden rise in A&E activity coming after months of NHS resources and frontline staff being pushed to their limits, coupled with current measures around PPE and social distancing, could make it very difficult for hospitals to cope.
“We understand that people will be looking forward to enjoying going out to pubs and restaurants for the first time in a long time. However, we urge people to apply common sense and to act responsibly to ensure hospitals and NHS emergency resources are not stretched beyond their limit this weekend.
“What’s more, it is important to remember that we are not out of this pandemic yet, with thousands of new cases of Covid-19 each week. When out and about in pubs and bars it is crucial that everyone continues to take appropriate measures to minimise the spread, including practising good social distancing - the new guidance is one metre plus; that means one metre of distance plus a face mask and other measures such as washing your hands regularly.
“It is also crucial that the Government closely monitor the impact of this latest lockdown relaxation and ensure relevant information is shared with all those involved in the management of new cases at a local level so that swift and meaningful action can be taken to address any local spikes.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
For media enquiries please email [email protected] or call 020 7383 6448.