‘Cost of care’ letters may go to A&E drinkers

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PEOPLE who are taken to hospital due to alcohol abuse could be sent letters explaining how much their treatment has cost.

It’s hoped the letters will give people a chance to see how their actions cost the community unnecessary cash.

But Tory councillor Steve Wemyss believes the NHS should be allowed to charge people for treatment if they abuse alcohol.

The council’s proposals would see a letter sent outlining costs of £100, for someone who arrives at A&E under their own steam, £400 for an ambulance to be sent out, and treatment given, and £1,800 for an overnight stay.

The Safer Portsmouth Partnership estimates the cost of alcohol abuse to the NHS in the city is around £8m per year.

Cllr Wemyss said: ‘How long will it be before the NHS can charge for these things? These people do this to themselves, and they cost the NHS time and money. Emergency departments on weekend nights are like alcohol drop-in centres and although other people aren’t pushed to the back of the queue, they do have to put up with bad behaviour and sometimes abuse, while they wait.’

But Lib Dem Cllr Mike Hancock said: ‘We can’t do that. We don’t force smokers to pay for their treatment.’