Can you help me carve a turkey NHS reveals ludicrous cases clogging up A&E at Christmas
Around one in four people who go to A&E units could use alternative facilities, say doctors”The Friday before Christmas is always the busiest night of the year for the ambulance service”
A woman who demanded help with carving a turkey and another who suffered cuts after climbing on to a photocopier, are just two of the ludicrous cases that staff have faced at Christmas, according to the NHS.
The bizarre anecdotes were revealed as part of a campaign to encourage revellers to use A&E wisely over the festive period.
They have released a series of videos that have actors showing some of the reasons why some people attend hospitals at this time of year.
What a turkey: One of the NHS videos reveal how one woman went to A&E at Christmas to try and get help carving her bird
In one video, two men play a drinking game in an A&E cafe after bringing in their friend to see if staff can remove the word “d***” from his forehead, which has been written in permanent ink.
Another shows a woman bringing in a huge frozen turkey in the hope staff can perform the “public service” of using a powerful medical saw to cut it up.
There is also a shot of a woman being wheeled past on all fours after sitting on a photocopier at the office party, causing the glass to break and embed itself in her bottom.
One of the video’s stars is Noorul Choudhury, a former contender on BBC1’s The Apprentice.
Around 40 per cent of all A&E attendances are for alcohol-related injuries and illnesses, according to experts, with the figures rising dramatically over the Christmas and New Year period.
Festive parties make the last Friday night before Christmas notorious as the busiest shift of the year for 999 teams.
But experts are expecting two “mad Fridays” this year – December 16 and 23 – because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday.
Regret: Drunken pranks can lead to long queues in A&E
The videos have been commissioned and co-ordinated by NHS North West.
Dr Mike Cheshire, medical director at NHS North West, said: “These comedy films support Choose Well, a national campaign which encourages people to think carefully about their condition before they go to A&E.
“As many as one in four people who go to A&E units could use alternative facilities like pharmacies or GP surgeries, or don’t need any kind of treatment at all.
“These unsuitable attendances cost the NHS around 100 million every year.
“At Christmas, paramedics and A&E staff are under their most severe pressure.
“Patients continue to call on them unnecessarily, while those with avoidable injuries caused by excessive drinking make the waiting rooms very busy.
“At the same time, NHS staff are working hard to treat those with serious respiratory problems caused by the cold weather, as well as victims of accidents on icy roads and pavements.”
He said he hoped the videos would encourage people to drink sensibly at their Christmas and New Year parties.
“We all like to let our hair down at Christmas, but no-one wants to end up in pain from a drink-related injury when they should be enjoying their time off with friends and families.”
Derek Cartwright, director of emergency services for North West Ambulance Service, added: “We are asking party-goers to drink responsibly and stay safe whilst out enjoying themselves during the festive period.
“The Friday before Christmas is always the busiest night of the year for the ambulance service, and this year we have two.
“We often see an increase in alcohol-related calls at this time of year, many of which can be avoided.
“In genuine life-threatening emergencies, time matters.
“If people stop and think about drink this Christmas and take a sensible approach, they can play their part in ensuring ambulance crews are free to attend to vulnerable and very poorly people.”