Whittington Hospital A&E staff fear Euro 2020 'injury time' could lead to abuse

The Whittington Hospital turned blue for the NHS' 72nd birthday. Picture: Whittington Health

'Treat A&E staff with respect' is the message from Whittington Health's A&E - Credit: Archant

Staff at the Whittington Hospital are concerned a "a toxic mix of alcohol and emotion" could see them subject to abuse in A&E in the aftermath of the Euro 2020 final this Sunday.

Hospital bosses said, even just since September last year more than 100 incidents of patients "abusing, threatening or being violent towards staff" had been recorded. They said this included racial abuse, homophobia and physical violence. 

Dr Heidi Edmundson, an A&E consultant at the Archway hospital, has been leading efforts to reduce violence. 

She said: "My colleagues are bracing themselves for whatever Sunday may bring. We are all routing for England to win but we know that a mix of too much alcohol during the game and heightened emotions is likely to lead to injury time for some.

"Sadly, a minority of our patients choose to abuse the staff trying to treat them which we find really upsetting. We want football to come home as much as everyone else – but we also want to get home safely too.”


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Hospital chief exec Siobhan Harrington said: "My staff come to work every day to care for people and it is totally unacceptable that they should have to suffer abuse or violence. We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and will work with police to ensure those responsible are prosecuted.”

The hospital said, with A&E "extremely busy" at the moment, patients were asked to phone NHS111 if they need urgent care it was not life-threatening so that they can be directed to the most appropriate service to get treatment as quickly as possible.

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NHS111 can also make a booking at A&E if a trip to hospital is required, but in an emergency people should always call 999.

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