WA hospitals under siege

Professor Daube said University of Newcastle research showed an almost 34 per cent reduction in assaults when closing times in the CBD were reduced 5am to 3.30am.

‘Longer liquor trading hours are associated with increased alcohol-related problems, including violence. Earlier closing times are associated with less alcohol-related harm,’ Prof. Daube said.

‘Regulating the trading hours and days of alcohol outlets must be a central component of managing the availability of alcohol.’

Peak times for admissions at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital of people affected by alcohol are between 10pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, and St John Ambulance WA attended 384 call outs last year relating to alcohol intoxication for people aged 18 years and younger.

Ambulance Service director Len Fiori said the figure was too high.

‘We would support programs and education to divert youngsters away from alcohol,’ he said.

Prof. Daube said this showed more needed to be done to reduce alcohol-related harm.

‘It is time for our politicians to act on the basis of independent research, the expert recommendations of health and law enforcement authorities and the best interests of the community,’ he said. ‘We need action to move WA from a culture where inappropriate alcohol use and drinking to get drunk are the cause for so much concern.’