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Friday 28th October 2016

Violent patients 'may pay'

14th September 2007

Politicians have suggested that drunks who are abusive to NHS staff should be made to pay for their treatment.


The Liberal Democrats say people should face the consequence of their actions and the party’s health spokesman Norman Lamb also believes that pubs should be affected and be required to pay a charge if they repeatedly send drinkers to hospital accident and emergency departments.

The idea is contained in a plan the party has drawn up on local NHS services and also includes a local health tax offset by cuts in national income tax and creating a “patient’s contract? which will detail the services all patients should be entitled to, regardless of where they live.

Regarding violent patients, Mr Lamb said: “If you go out on a Friday or a Saturday night and get very drunk and you end up in accident and emergency, and you are foul and abusive to staff who are already overstretched, then is it right that you should get that care entirely for free, or are there consequences to your actions? I think there is a case for saying that someone in those circumstances should be asked to pay for their care.?

Mr Lamb said more health decisions should be taken at local level, by locally-elected health boards to meet varying local priorities.

The Department of Health said it was already devolving decision-making so that the NHS responds to the needs and wants of the public with more emphasis on putting power into the hands of patients and staff.


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