Drink-drivers using A&E to avoid giving sample

QA Hospital. Picture: Will Caddy

Hospital boss warns of ‘great pressure’ at Portsmouth A&E in busiest weekend before Christmas

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THE manager of Queen Alexandra Hospital’s A&E department says some drink-drivers are coming in to avoid police stations.

Rick Strang has been brought in by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, to help ease pressure on the emergency department.

But he says his job is made even harder when people deliberately choose to come in to waste time.

He said: ‘Even if you get time-wasters in, you still have to see them.

‘If they come in through the front door, then you have to go through the whole process, and that can be very frustrating.

‘For instance, some people who have been pulled over for drink-driving will say they have a medical problem and need to go to A&E.

‘Some of the time that might be true but the majority of the time it isn’t. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

‘They come in to try and delay going to the police station because they would have to provide a specimen.

‘You have still have to go through the whole process and if that takes longer than four hours it’s still counted as a breach of our targets.

‘And we can see between 1,600 to 1,800 people a week – you don’t need time-wasters making up some of that number.