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Call for specialised drink-unit

A paramedic who detailed horrific alcohol-related injuries that hospitals witness every day has urged MPs to set up a devoted drink-clinic to deal with the problem long term.

Brian Hayes, a team leader at Waterloo ambulance station, gave a graphic description of injures, illnesses and deaths that he and his colleagues had to deal with to the Commons health committee.

Men, he said, most often require to be treated for wounds sustained in fights or drunken stunts, while women need help simply because they are too drunk.

He said accident and emergency units treat the injuries and send the drinkers home, but there is no anti-abuse advice or follow-up of patients which is needed to tackle the issue in the long term.

Mr Hayes called for the setting up of a specialised unit in London`s West End to deal with patients` immediate medical needs and act to stop them from becoming casualties later.

Robin Touquet, professor of emergency medicine at London`s St Mary`s Hospital, said the easy availability of alcohol, especially in supermarkets, was encouraging youngsters to drink to excess.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Commons Health Committee