Anorak News | Patient Smith’s ‘A&E Asbo’: NHS Patient Seeks Bed And Board

Patient Smith’s ‘A&E Asbo’: NHS Patient Seeks Bed And Board

by | 30th, August 2007

doctor.jpgPEOPLE are always complaining about how difficult it is to get good service in this country, but they often overlook a very obvious resource: the emergency services.

The clue, as they say, is in the name. And for a small group of clued-up citizens, these public servants have provided what the late lamented Tony Blair would call “world-class servussus”.

These clued-up citizens would occasionally make the news themselves, such as the lady who regularly called out the police, fire brigade and ambulance crews to perform emergency operations like fetching a sandwich from the fridge or getting a carton of milk from the shop.

Now, however, it appears that the authorities are getting wise to this sort of thing. We have entered the age of what the Mirror calls “THE A&E ASBO”.

The Asbo in question has been handed out to Mark Smith of Newton, Powys by Welshpool magistrates.

His offence was to take advantage of the hospitality of various hospitals around the country in order to get a free bed for the night after his drinking sessions. To achieve this, he would fake drug overdoses.

This ruse is estimated to have cost the NHS £117,000. To put this into perspective, that’s enough to employ a consultant for about three weeks. (A brand co-ordinating consultant, that is – to advise on NHS trust logos and letterheads.)

Mr Smith’s Asbo means that he now requires “written permission or a pre-arranged appointment before setting foot on NHS premises, except in a real emergency”.

But who decides what is a real emergency? One suspects that Mr Smith’s interpretation might be somewhat broader that most.

Leaving that thorny question aside, how will the authorities enforce this ban?

Dermid McCaufland of the fraud service is in no doubt: “Should Smith break the terms of the Asbo, he could face imprisonment.”

In other words: a free bed for the night, every night.

Sounds just the ticket.

Posted: 30th, August 2007 | In: Tabloids Comments (2) | TrackBack | Permalink