Ambulance crews brace for busiest night of the year

EMAS is urging people to think about their alcohol intake over the festive season
EMAS is urging people to think about their alcohol intake over the festive season

East Midlands Ambulance Service is urging people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption on the build-up to what is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for its crews.

The Friday before Christmas, better known amongst the emergency services as Black Friday, marks the most popular day for Christmas parties and festive nights out.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), says it is preparing to deal with the fallout from the biggest date on the Christmas party calendar, which this year falls on December 20, as those who drink to excess fall foul of illness and injury and need emergency healthcare.

A spokesman for EMAS said: “Every year the last Friday before Christmas puts the service under increased pressure as people have Christmas parties and finish work for the holidays.

“Too often this leads to people drinking irresponsibly and finding themselves in situations which jeopardise their health, either through injuries sustained in drunken fights, drink driving or falling.”

In 2012, the service received 1,548 calls on Friday, December 21, which was a 20 per cent increase in calls compared to a Friday evening in November 2012. A similar increase in calls is expected this year.

Dr Trevor Mills, Medical Director, said: “At this time of year alcohol has a huge impact on our ambulance service.

“Excessive drinking leads to people taking life-threatening risks, such as drink driving, getting into fights, accidents and falls or falling asleep outside which puts them at risk of hypothermia.

“Too much alcohol can also adversely affect some medications and worsen some chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

“We want everyone to enjoy celebrating safely but that means thinking about the potential impact of your drinking. Know your limits and don’t take risks with your health.”

EMAS is encouraging those who do need medical attention to think twice before dialling 999 and ask themselves if their condition is life-threatening – or if they are able to make their own way to other NHS services such as an urgent care centres, walk-in centres or GPs and pharmacists.

@EMASNHSTRUST will be posting safety advice over the weekend about how to drink responsibly and information about accessing emergency care.