Date PostedApril 12, 2013

NSW Alcohol News Update: Sydney Hospital Slams AHA for Alcohol Fuelled Problems

A large hospital in Sydney has accused the Australian Hotels Association with not admitting to the severity of alcohol fuelled violence in the state.

According to an article on St Vincent’s Hospital claim that the AHA are making light of a rather serious situation, thereby misleading the public and insulting emergency staff in the process.

The head of the NSW AHA Pal Nicolaou has defended the organisation by claiming that half of the alcohol related problems at the hospital were also linked to illicit drugs and alcohol cannot be solely blamed.

This is what he had to say according to the post:

art-353-gordian-20fulde-202-300x0“If you look at Gordian Fulde who’s the person at the coalface at St Vincent’s Hospital … he highlights that nearly 50 per cent of the cases that come in are also alcohol plus drugs,” he said.

But Professor Fulde said he has never made that claim.

“I think it’s unfortunate that they don’t have their facts straight,” he said. “The reality is that … over 95 per cent of the violence in our emergency departments is due to alcohol.”

The public affairs manager at St Vincent’s, David Faktor, said the association’s persistent denial of the extent of the alcohol problem was part of an attempt to “obfuscate and divert the issue towards illicit drug use”.

“This approach … serves to effectively mock the hard work and anguish felt by our emergency staff, police and paramedics who are left to deal with the problem,” Mr Faktor said.

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The post goes on to explain that the geographical location of the hospital means it is situated in an area plagued by alcohol fuelled violence, being surrounded by the CBD, Kings Cross and Oxford Street, an area where there is a large concentration of licenced venues, in fact the largest concentration in the whole of Australia.

Following the release of a British report detailing radical steps to stop the harmful effects of alcohol in communities, including a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship, a minimum pricing of 75¢ per unit of alcohol, requiring one third of every alcohol label to be given over to health warnings and introducing taxation based on alcohol volume, Australian health experts want a similar plan adopted here in Oz. They suggest starting with a ban on advertising that children may have access to.

According to interest groups such as the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, the policy would be paramount in reducing alcohol fuelled harm in Australia. The group’s director, Mike Daube said in the article that the report was tremendously important in reducing alcohol harm rather than simply tolerating it and the problems it brings.

The post goes on to state:

A spokesman for the Australian Hotels Association NSW said he maintained his view that the use of illicit and prescription drugs was a significant issue.

“The record seizure of 585 kilograms of ‘ice’ just yesterday should convince even the strongest critic that drugs are an issue that also needs to be addressed,” he said. “In no way does this comment seek to detract from the tireless work done by medical personnel, nor emergency services personnel working throughout NSW.”

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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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