NHS will face sixty-days of NYE parties during Olympics
Nurses will have to prepare themselves for sixty days worth of New Year’s Eve parties throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Speaking at a public health conference hosted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Hilary Ross, 2012 Programme Director for NHS London, said there will be “high health risks” associated with the 1600 ‘Glastonbury-style’ celebratory events planned in the UK during the months between May – when the Olympic torch arrives in the UK – and September – when the Parolympic Games reaches its finale.
Research on previous Olympic host nations, such as Vancouver and Sydney, suggests alcohol and substance misuse could be “particular issues” for the NHS during the games.
In an attempt to minimise the impact of such festival-like events, Ross confirmed ‘booze buses’ will be parked in “strategic places” around the capital.
Despite her warning to RCN members, Ross played down the prospect of additional demands being placed on the NHS during the games.
“There is no evidence to suggest we are going to see a huge demand in healthcare services during the Olympic Games,” she said.
“There is nothing to say that it is not perfectly possible for us to manage the number of celebratory events happening around the capital.
“However, this is not to say we shouldn’t be doing a whole range of activities to minimise the impact and prevent any unnecessary illness and injury.”
Janet Davies, Executive Director of Nursing and Service Delivery at the RCN, told NiP nurses will find the volume of events “very challenging”.
“Nurses in London 2012 designated hospitals will find the months of the Olympics very challenging if this predication over the sheer number of events turns out to be the case, especially with the games coming at a time of increased pressure and cuts to frontline services,” she said.
In a statement to NiP, a DH spokesperson said the NHS has “robust plans” in place to prepare for any additional demands created by the Olympic Games and ensure the healthcare needs of local people are not “compromised”.
Question: Do you think the NHS will be able to cope with the additional demands of the 1600 planned festival-style events?