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Christmas revellers warned over A&E visits

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People are being urged to use A&E wisely this Christmas as new videos reveal some inappropriate reasons for attendance - including needing help carving a turkey.

The videos, released by the NHS, show actors playing the role of real people attending A&E for the wrong reasons or for festive pranks gone wrong.

In one video, two men play a drinking game in an A&E cafe after bringing in their friend to see if staff can remove the word “dick” from his forehead, which has been written in permanent ink.

Another shows a woman bringing in a huge frozen turkey in the hope staff can perform the “public service” of using a powerful medical saw to cut it up.

There is also a shot of a woman being wheeled past on all fours after sitting on a photocopier at the office party, causing the glass to break and embed itself in her bottom.

Around 40% of all A&E attendances are for alcohol-related injuries and illnesses, according to experts, with the figures rising dramatically over the Christmas and New Year period.

Festive parties make the last Friday night before Christmas notorious as the busiest shift of the year for 999 teams.

But experts are expecting two “mad Fridays” this year - December 16 and 23 - because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday.

The videos have been commissioned and co-ordinated by NHS North West.

Dr Mike Cheshire, medical director at NHS North West, said: “These comedy films support Choose Well, a national campaign which encourages people to think carefully about their condition before they go to A&E.

“As many as one in four people who go to A&E units could use alternative facilities like pharmacies or GP surgeries, or don’t need any kind of treatment at all.

“These unsuitable attendances cost the NHS around £100 million every year.

“At Christmas, paramedics and A&E staff are under their most severe pressure.

“Patients continue to call on them unnecessarily, while those with avoidable injuries caused by excessive drinking make the waiting rooms very busy.

“At the same time, NHS staff are working hard to treat those with serious respiratory problems caused by the cold weather, as well as victims of accidents on icy roads and pavements.”

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