Hospital Chief Executive Chris Long is issuing a stark warning to pub-goers to honour their commitment to ‘Protect the NHS’ this weekend as pubs across Hull and the East Riding re-open for business.
Emergency services are on high alert as pubs and restaurants prepare to open on Saturday for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23 to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Mr Long, Chief Executive of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said now was the time for people to “Protect the NHS” by not placing another burden on Hull Royal Infirmary.
He said: “People stood on their doorsteps every Thursday night for weeks and applauded our staff because they appreciated how hard we were working to save lives.
“This weekend, act like you meant it. Don’t drink too much, get into fights or risk having an accident caused by alcohol just because you can go to a pub again.
“Our Emergency Department is under intense pressure already, not just with patients with Covid-19 but with those who still come here with minor illnesses and injuries when they should go elsewhere.
“We don’t need any extra burden caused by drunks who refuse to accept when they’ve had enough. Don’t be that person.”
Staff at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital have been under immense pressure since they dealt with the first confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK in January. Two hundred people have died at both hospitals since March 19.
This week, the trust announced more than 500 people with the virus had recovered enough to go home. However, around 50 people with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 remain in hospital, including those with the most severe form of the disease.
Fears are mounting that the reopening of pubs will result in a surge of new infections if people drop their guard and ignore social distancing measures.
Mr Long said: “The restrictions might be easing for you but my people remain on the frontline of Covid-19.
“Never forget our teams have been dealing with this every day for almost four months. They are exhausted but they are still holding the hands of the dying whose loved ones can’t be with them in their final hours.
“If you’re going out this weekend, remember us and your commitment to protect the NHS.
“Behave responsibly and ensure your friends and family do the same.
“We just do not have the resources, time or energy to deal with people who harm themselves or others because they can’t say no to yet another drink.”
[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]