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Top Melbourne venues where alcohol consumption has led to hospital emergency visits revealed

Photo: Grog toll on Vic emergency ward revealed
Crown Casino and the MCG are among top Melbourne venues where alcohol consumption has led to hospital emergency department visits, a new study shows.

Crown Casino and MCG are among the top Melbourne venues behind rising alcohol-related hospital admissions in the Victorian city, according to a review of emergency department visits.

Alcohol was to blame for a quarter of weekend visits to Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital emergency department, the data show.

These resulted from alcohol-fuelled assaults, glassings and violence, as well as acute intoxication causing nausea and vomiting, unconsciousness and mental health issues.

Over a three-month period earlier this year, one-in-10 patients showed up at the hospital's emergency department due to alcohol-related issues, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) study found.
On weekends, the rate jumped to one-in-four patients.

The top five venues where people were last served drinks before attending the emergency ward were Crown Casino, the MCG, house music club Tramp Bar, the Arbory Bar and music venue Billboard.

ACEM president Dr Simon Judkins says trading hours are part of the problem, with Victoria enabling some of the longest opening hours in Australia, many venues selling alcohol past 1am and Crown allowed to trade for 24 hours.

Dr Judkins says doctors on the frontline regularly witness the devastating effects of excessive consumption, often enduring assaults or verbal and physical threats from drunk patients.

"All of this is incredibly confronting and really adds to the stress and burnout of an emergency medicine workforce already under pressure," he said.

ACEM Fellow Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton, called on government to urgently address alcohol affordability and availability.

"Emergency departments are becoming like pubs. Our research shows that nine out of 10 emergency physicians have experienced alcohol-related violence," she said.

The ongoing study, looking at alcohol-related harm arriving at hospitals, is part of a joint project between the ACEM, nine hospitals nationally and universities.

The Alcohol Policy Coalition's Dr Mark Zirnsak says hospitals are spending so much time and resources dealing with alcohol-related injuries, but this could be avoided with better regulation of alcohol businesses.

He says venues are clearly continuing to serve people who are intoxicated, which is leading to emergency admissions.

"The more profits alcohol businesses make, the more Victorians are harmed. The owners of the alcohol businesses need to be held accountable," he said.

The sale of alcohol kills nearly 6000 Australians from disease every year - including 1300 Victorians, causes eight different types of cancer and results in more than 3200 people developing cancer every year, the coalition says.

Dr Zirnsak said imposing penalties on venues with a high number of violent incidents linked to them could minimise the impact.

In NSW, venues with a high number of recorded violent incidents are subject to strict conditions around serving alcohol and increased monitoring.

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