College News

More than 1 in 20 cases at A&E departments are alcohol related, new study shows

A new study has found that 1 in 20 cases in Irish emergency departments are alcohol-related.

The busiest times for alcohol-related cases are Saturday night and Sunday morning. Alcohol-related cases, during this time, account for 29% of presentations to emergency departments in Ireland.

“We know alcohol is a problem in Emergency Departments at certain times but we need to know more about this to work out what needs to be done,” said Dr. Brian McNicholl, a consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Galway. The study “confirmed that the people coming to us with alcohol-related presentations are more likely to be male, arrive by ambulance, leave without being seen by a doctor, and to leave against medical advice.” Dr. McNicholl said.

The study, which was undertaken by medical staff at Galway University Hospital Emergency Department, the HSE Public Health Department in Galway and NUI Galway examined all 29 emergency departments in Ireland.

The new findings aim to improve the ways information on alcohol use is collected and hopes to provide better services for people suffering from issues related to alcohol and to better assist hospitals.

Dr. Diarmuid O’Donovan, Director of Public Health in the HSE West and Senior Lecturer in Social and Preventive Medicine at NUI Galway, said “The burden of alcohol on Emergency Departments and on emergency services is substantial and expensive. We need to do more to prevent alcohol-related harm, and to have better services for people who have alcohol problems so that people don’t end up in Emergency Departments and ambulances.”