ABUSE from patients under the influence of alcohol and drugs "saps morale" among medical and emergency workers, a doctor has said.

The statement, from Wrexham GP Peter Saul, comes after a 73-year-old man received a suspended sentence for his behaviour at Wrexham Maelor Hospital's A&E earlier this year.

Edwin Roberts, of Victoria Avenue in Johnstown, had been for a birthday celebration in Mold.

But he turned up in A&E with a cut on his nose having - by his own admission - consumed a lot of alcohol.

While he was initially pleasant, his behaviour turned aggressive, with him shouting, swearing and lashing out at staff.

Dr Saul said: "I welcome this sort of sentence - it sends a message that health and emergency workers are there to help people, not deal with disorderly conduct.

"I'm fortunate because I work in primary care, so people tend to come here in the daytime.

READ MORE73-year-old got "wrecked out of his mind" and hurled abuse at hospital staff

"It's an ongoing relationship - you know them and they know you.

"Sure, we get the odd person with disruptive behaviour but the people at the sharp end, in my view, are ambulance and A&E staff.

"They face people coming in after a night on the town, who are injured or can be so drunk or under the influence of drugs they're not able to behave themselves."

On his message to the public, Dr Saul said: "People who are going out for a drink need to look after each other.

"The aims should not to be to get so drunk that you put yourself at risk and therefore might put others at risk.

The Leader: Wrexham Magistrates CourtWrexham Magistrates Court

"Look after each other and do things in moderation."

On the wider issue of abuse faced by health and emergency workers, he continued: "My colleagues in hospitals get sworn at, pushed, shoved, spat at - and most of them don't report it to the police.

"They do the best they can and try to push on because they think, well he's drunk and he doesn't know what he's doing. They try not to get the person in trouble.

"But this behaviour saps morale - it's a drip, drip, drip that is affecting our emergency services and making life harder for them.

"And people may have to go off sick if they're assaulted, which reduces the capacity of the service."

Geoff Ryall-Harvey, Chief Officer at the North Wales Community Health Council, said: "For other patients, it's extremely frightening to see someone doing that.

"There are parents taking children to the emergency department at all times of the day and night, and it can be a frightening environment for a child - for anyone really.

READ MOREBuckley drug user spat in nurse's face

"People can get injured in the chaos that ensues from an incident like this.

"And as for the staff, NHS staff have gone through all sorts of stress and difficulties over the pandemic period.

"This doesn't help at all - it's extremely disappointing."

Mr Ryall-Harvey said it is an "unfortunate phenomenon" that people "seem to gravitate" to A&E after drinking too much on nights out and they can often bring conflicts and arguments into the hospital with them.

He added: "It's an open service and no one can be banned from it.

"We don't want to see security guards in the emergency department - we'd like to see more nurses and staff, but this sort of behaviour makes that an unattractive prospect.

"I don't know how to solve it.

"The courts can help by punishing the guilty parties to the limit of the law but it comes down to individual responsibility.

"People need to take responsibility for themselves."

Sue Green, Executive Director of Workforce and Organisation Development at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “Our staff work incredibly hard to care for people who are receiving treatment in our hospitals.

"We have guidance documents, training and security staff to protect against violence, aggression or abuse towards our staff while they are carrying out their duties.

"In addition all staff are provided full support following any incident.

“We understand people who need our care are often in pain and are going through a worrying and stressful time, and because of that, tensions can sometimes run high.

"However, there is simply no excuse for verbal or physical abuse against our hard-working staff, as well as upsetting other patients within the hospital who witness any abusive behaviour.

"We are pleased that the court has delivered a suspended sentence, and compensation award and hope that this acts as a deterrent for others."