A LEADING north Cumbrian emergency doctor has issued a plea not to behave irresponsibly upon the reopening of pubs and bars tomorrow.

With pubs and bars reopening for the first time across the county since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, there were concerns that overenthusiastic revellers could land themselves in trouble.

Dr Craig Melrose, GP clinical lead urgent & emergency care at the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust, said: “The NHS has coped admirably during this time and the support we have received from local Cumbrian communities has been absolutely brilliant.

“To many the opening of bars on Saturday will come as a welcome release from the unprecedented pandemic we have all been living through over the past few months.

“It is understandable that people want to go out and have a few drinks with friends but we urge the public to be careful and use common sense.

“However we still need to remain vigilant and avoid overwhelming our A&E departments. Alcohol excess and related injuries are avoidable, they put pressure on our A&E departments which in turn limits our abilities to deal with other emergencies.

“We would remind the public to act responsibly, drink responsibly and to maintain social distancing.

“It is also really important that people choose the services that is most appropriate for their needs. It has never been more important that our Emergency Departments are for emergencies only. If it is not an emergency, call 111, see a pharmacist, book a GP appointment. If you are seriously injured or sick, go to your A&E – you will be treated.

“We need everyone to play their part, the threat of coronavirus has not gone away.”

President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson, issued a nationwide plea for sense to prevail: “If you go to A&E because you’re plastered, you end up stretching the health service further and potentially put others at risk,” she said.

“The NHS has coped admirably during this period, but staff are exhausted, and the system is very fragile.

“After seeing all of the goodwill, all of the clapping for the NHS, it would be heartbreaking to see A&Es overwhelmed on the first post-lockdown evening by people who have gotten too drunk or been in a fight.”