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Northern Ireland A&E 'more dangerous place' as result of drugged-up, drunk or attacked MTV Crashes revellers

Some concert-goers required intensive care

By Jonny Bell

Published 12/09/2016

Thousands descended on Ebrington Square for the concert.
Thousands descended on Ebrington Square for the concert.

Drugged-up, drunk or assaulted MTV concert-goers caused a "significant" increase in the number of patients attending a Northern Ireland hospital.

MTV Crashes returned to Derry on Saturday night with thousands swarming to the Ebrington Square venue.

However, doctors said many concert-goers required medical treatment - with some admitted to intensive care in Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

 

Paul Baylis, emergency medicine consultant at the hospital, said: "There was a significant increase in attendances at Altnagelvin Hospital's emergency department from the early evening on Saturday through to the early hours of Sunday morning as a result of the outdoor MTV concert in the town. 

"There was a large number of 16 to 25 year olds who presented at the department, most of them intoxicated with alcohol and or recreational drugs.

"Out of the 100 overall attendances at the Emergency Department between 6pm on Saturday 10 September and 6am on Sunday 11 September, 30 of them were alcohol or drugs related.

"There was also an increase in the number of cases of assault attending our service whom the injured patients stated that they had been assaulted by drunk or stoned assailants"

Mr Baylis continued: "Weekends are usually quite busy in our emergency department anyway.

"Our staff were managing their usual busy workload alongside having to deal with the increase in intoxicated young people presented to the department. 

"Many of the additional intoxicated young patients were extremely distressed and required significant nursing support. 

"In essence as a direct consequence of the MTV event our usual challenging emergency department Saturday evening environment became a more dangerous environment for all our patients as our fixed staffing resources strived to cope with the additional workload.

"Some of those who attended the emergency department were extremely ill and needed to receive intensive care treatment. Many needed overnight observation."

Mr Baylis added: "All young people, and their parents, need to be conscious of the dangers associated with consuming alcohol and drugs in an uncontrolled environment.

"The drugs that are being peddled at these events are not regulated in any way and there is no way of knowing the dangers of consuming them, especially when washed down with alcohol. 

"The effects of drugs and alcohol often result in paranoid and distressing behaviours which directly endangers the health and safety of the person taking them and also the safely of the people around them.

"In addition they can lead to extreme vulnerability to all forms of assault as they lose their ability to object to what may happen to them.

"Personal safety should be of paramount importance when frequenting outdoor events. All parents should give careful consideration before allowing their children to attend such an event in the future."

The concert is the third event the music broadcaster MTV has held in the city.

The Belfast Telegraph has attempted to contact promoter Legacy promotions. It told the BBC there were 12,000 attending the concert with 65 treated in the welfare facility on site and 12 sent to hospital as a precaution.

There were two arrests on the night, it said, and police and the Ambulance Service were on hand within the venue.

The promoter also said "drunk children without their parents" were turned away at the door but given treatment regardless.

PSNI Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said the main aim of the policing operation at the weekend was to keep people safe.

He added: “We worked very closely with the event organisers and other key stakeholders throughout the planning process particularly around the issue of licensing and public safety.

"We did have cause to deal with a number of young people who were intoxicated. Some of them were dealt with in a special triage area however others did require treatment at hospital.

"We did have cause to speak to several people who became disorderly after being removed from the event space, we are following up on a report of an assault on a 15 year old boy and we arrested a 17 year old male for disorderly behaviour.”

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