A Medical Clinic In Paceville? It Could Be A 'Mistake', Malta's Emergency Department Chairperson Warns
'Once someone is admitted to a health centre with substance or alcohol intoxication, we already have a problem'
Binge-drinking has somehow (and unfortunately) become part and parcel of a Maltese night out, and entertainment hotspots like Paceville are where it all comes to life on a nearly daily basis. Following Health Minister Chris Fearne's suggestion of setting up a clinic in Paceville to treat overly intoxicated people, however, Mater Dei's Emergency Department chairperson has expressed concerns of the whole idea backfiring.
In an interview with Malta Today, senior hospital consultant Michael Spiteri said that "it would be a mistake to believe that opening clinics here and there will solve everything". Rather, he called for a shift in mentality, highlighting the importance of prevention over cure.
“Setting up a clinic is not necessarily a bad idea, far from it, but it has to be well-planned strategically and it must not give the impression that one can binge drink at will because help is not far away,” Spiteri said.
Health Minister Chris Fearne's suggestion of a clinic in Paceville came after a Maltese nurse had taken to Facebook to express her frustration over the sheer number of people admitted to emergency because of intoxication. Spiteri, however, is not sure we're looking at the real solution to the problem.
“No matter how many clinics and personnel we have, once someone is admitted to a health centre with substance or alcohol intoxication, we already have a problem,” Spiteri continued.
Spiteri went on to say that one also needs to take into consideration the fact that, "no matter how petty the patient's symptoms seem to be," people will always be given "utmost care and attention irrespective of how many nurses or doctors" are available, or even if an untrained eye might initially think the symptoms are more grievous in a state of panic.
“I must and will keep on insisting on the importance of prevention," Spiteri concluded. "It is vital to keep on educating people from a very young age. The mentality of binge drinking on the weekends, with the mind-set that it is not dangerous, must stop."