DRUNKS are to be treated in a makeshift medical unit in Hull city centre over the festive season to stop them clogging up A&E. Yorkshire Ambulance Service is placing a static medical unit in Trinity Square over festive weekends, starting on Saturday night, from 8.30pm to 3am.
It will be manned by an emergency care practitioner and other ambulance staff, to treat people walking in off the street to prevent ambulance call-outs and admissions to Hull Royal Infirmary.
It will be in position again on Friday, December 20, and again on New Year's Eve.
It comes as thousands of festive party-goers are expected to descend on Hull city centre as Christmas draws nearer.
Vince Larvin, locality director of emergency operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: "This time of year is very busy for the ambulance service, including an increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents we are asked to attend, when there are large numbers of people celebrating the festivities in busy town and city centres.
"One of the initiatives we have in place to help us deal with this increase in demand and free up emergency ambulances for those patients who are seriously ill or injured, is running a satellite medical unit to treat people who have had too much drink or who have sustained minor injuries, following a fall or assault.
"The majority of these patients do not need to attend the emergency department and can be treated by our clinicians at the unit.
"We also have a police and paramedic team operating in Hull to ensure we reach those in the busy city centre nightlife areas quickly.
"We would like to remind everyone to drink responsibly to protect themselves and others and look after each other."
Volunteer group Hull Street Angels will also have a team on duty this Saturday. From 10pm to 2am, the group will guide people to the unit if they are in need of medical attention.
Karen Thompson, project co-ordinator at Angels Trinity, said: "We will be working very closely with the unit.
"There will be a team of six, divided into three pairs.
"We will be encouraging people to go into the unit, if at all necessary.
"Ultimately, our aim is stop intoxicated people from going into accident and emergency, clogging it up, when that problem can be avoided.
"It promises to be an extremely busy weekend in Hull."
Hull resident Darren Scarah, 42, said: "The truth is there are people who have far more serious injuries than the people who are drunk and who have a few bumps and bruises through their own wrongdoing.
"So, I certainly welcome the news."