‘It takes a story like this to make the truth sink in’

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MOST of us enjoy a drop or two of the hard stuff at one time or another.

And many of us, if we are honest, will admit to drinking more than we should on occasion.

But we always think that we will escape with nothing worse than a hangover – and we usually do.

Twenty-four-year Jacqueline Bromly, however, was not so lucky. After popping out to the cash machine following an all-day drinking session, she stumbled in her drunken state straight in front of a taxi and very nearly died.

We all know that binge drinking is a dangerous pastime. We have read the statistics that say alcohol abuse costs the NHS in Scotland £110 million a year. And we have heard doctors warning about the links between booze and violence. Medics at the ERI estimate drink is a factor in up to two-thirds of the assaults whose victims they treat.

But it is only when someone like Jacqueline has the courage to stand up and tell their story that the truth often sinks in.

We only hope that by reading her story someone might think twice and save themselves the agony that she has gone through.

Criminally stupid

our revelation in Saturday’s paper that staff employed by the private contractor Consort have been working at the ERI without proper Disclosure Scotland safety checks is truly shocking.

People are often at their most vulnerable when they are in hospital and everyone should have the right to feel safe when they are in the care of the NHS.

That is why laws were passed to ensure that children and adults at risk are protected from sexual predators and other dangerous offenders.

NHS Lothian deserves praise for its prompt action in ensuring that no-one is allowed to work alone in the hospital until they have undergone proper checks.

It is essential that the most thorough checks possible are now carried out to ensure that all appropriate staff have been vetted.

And the matter should not end there. No-one is above the law or should feel they have the right to be exempt.

An investigation must be carried out into how this situation was allowed to come about and there should be repercussions for whoever is found to be responsible.

That is the only way we can send out the right message that we take very seriously indeed the job of protecting our most vulnerable citizens.