The Guardian spent Friday 22nd January on a night out in Britain, including joining the Manchester Street Angels on patrol. The full report is at www.theguardian.com/society/live/2016/jan/22/britain-on-the-booze-live or #ThisIsTheNHS on Twitter.
So that just about wraps up our Friday night live. Key conclusions: 1. drink is a problem 24/7 in hospitals, not just in the evenings, 2. for every teenager with a sprained wrist and hiccups there’s a serious recidivist who is on first-name terms with all the triage nurses, and 3. Britain may have its problem drinkers, but it has many great people trying to help them, from the staff in A&E departments to the street volunteers who try to protect people from themselves.
Time with Manchester Street Angels:
Manchester’s Street Angels, a group of eight volunteers, have just had a briefing from Inspector Phil Spurgeon in the city tonight. Dubbed Operation Custodian, the volunteers are shown mugshots of two individuals wanted by police - we can say no more - and pictures of cars suspected to be involved in drug dealing.
“99.9% of people out tonight are decent people,” Spurgeon tells the volunteers. “Our job is to look after them. 0.1% are not very nice but we still have to look after them and get them home properly.” As uniformed officers file out of the city centre office, next door to the town hall in Albert Square, one says they have already dealt with a group of seven men fighting tonight, one reportedly unconscious. The night is still young, however.
Audio Boom - Dan Smith, consultant paramedic in Manchester city centre, on Britain's booze culture