A HOSPITAL boss has blasted ‘selfish’ drunks for putting strain on the NHS at one of the busiest times of they year.

The call came as boozing revellers put a heavy strain on the NHS over New Year’s Eve.

It is understood that staff at Great Western Hospital had to deal with partygoers who had overindulged during the New Year’s celebrations while also attending to patients with more serious health issues.

The hospital has already struggled to cope with the influx of patients over the festive period, which has led to some patients waiting up to 11 hours before being seen by a doctor, and drunk people aren’t making the situation any better.

The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, called them selfish for relying on the health service to help them after they’d had a few too many and indicated that more drunk tanks could be set up around the country to alleviate the immense pressure they put on hospitals.

An estimated 12 to 15 per cent of attendances at emergency departments in the UK are due to acute alcohol intoxication, peaking on Friday and Saturday nights and around the Christmas festivities when as many as 70 per cent of attendances can be alcohol-related, according to NHS England.

Mr Stevens said: “When the health service is pulling out all the stops to care for sick and vulnerable patients who rightly and genuinely need our support, it’s frankly selfish when ambulance paramedics and A&E nurses have to be diverted to looking after revellers who have overindulged and who just need somewhere to safely sleep it off.

“NHS doesn’t stand for National Hangover Service, but I’ve seen first-hand how paramedics and A&Es are being called on to deal with drunk and often aggressive people.”

There are around 16 drunk tanks operating in the UK.

Hospitals in towns and cities operating alcohol intoxication management services – the official name for drunk tanks – see around 40 per cent fewer assaults on A&E staff.

Councils, ambulance services and police in Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff already provide areas where drunk people can be checked by health professionals and be supervised as they sleep off alcohol without having to go to hospital.