As winter pressures continue to put pressure on A&E departments, swans have been blamed for huge numbers of injuries tying up emergency staff in the already overstretched units.
Hospital spokesman Peter Griffiths has summed up part of the problem ‘Everyone knows that DIY, drink driving, football, horse riding, motorbikes, preparing vegetables, swordfighting and indeed just walking along a slightly uneven pavement are highly dangerous activities, but in modern day society most people are unaware how much of a huge threat to health river fowl can be.’
A survey of admissions from A&E units across the country has revealed that after road traffic accidents, swan related injuries are the second most common cause of admission to hospital. Mr Griffiths catalogued the last 10 attendances at his hospital’s A&E of which 4 patients had been attacked by swans; 3 fractured wrists and a facial contusion from a pecking attack had ensued. ‘When I was growing up my parents told me that a swan could break bones, but that message seems to have got lost in today’s “facebook” generation’ he re-iterated.
The government is considering a cull of the vicious birds, however after experience gained in the culling of badgers in Gloucestershire it I estimated that each swan shot would cost the taxpayer around £75,000, roughly equalling the annual salaries of three nurses. A government spokesman was heard to comment that this ‘seemed like reasonable value in today’s economic climate’.