The NHS is becoming the “national hangover service” as medics spend most of their time dealing with Britain’s binge drinking problem, a health boss has fumed.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, slammed “selfish” party-goers in a stark warning as the nation gears up for one of the most alcohol-fuelled nights of the year.
He added that the health service is already facing considerable strain from the annual spike in winter emergencies.
Millions of revellers are expected to pack bars, pubs and clubs across the UK to celebrate the arrival of 2017 on Saturday night.
Figures from the health service show that admissions for alcohol-related incidents rocket on the first day of the new year.
Mr Stevens told the Daily Telegraph: “At a time of year when hospitals are always under pressure, caring for a spike in winter emergencies, it’s really selfish to get so blotto that you end up in an ambulance or A&E.
“More than a third of A&E attendances at peak times are caused by drunkenness.
“Casualty nurses and doctors are understandably frustrated about the NHS being used as a national hangover service.
“In our towns and cities this Christmas and new year, the paramedic called to a drunk partygoer passed out on the pavement is an ambulance crew obviously not then available for a genuine medical emergency.”