Medics urge restraint to cut booze call-outs

PARAMEDICS are bracing themselves for one of the busiest nights of the year – as new figures reveal that they are dealing with thousands of boozed-up patients every year.

Between March 2009 and April 2010, the London Ambulance Service attended 2,169 alcohol-related calls in Islington – 7.9 per cent of all incidents.

That is only slightly down on the same period last year, when ambulances attended 2,261 alcohol-related incidents in the borough – eight per cent of all incidents

A significant proportion of those calls came around the Christmas and New Year period – 177 in December 2009 alone.

Staff are now calling on people to be responsible this New Year’s Eve.

Terry Williamson, Islington’s ambulance operations manager, said: “At this time of year, we tend to see a rise in alcohol-related calls. This is a real concern because it means we have to treat more patients who are simply drunk, and that limits our ability to reach people who really need our help.

“People should enjoy themselves over New Year, but I’d urge people to be responsible and to think carefully before dialling 999.”

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Revellers going out on New Year’s Eve are advised to wrap up warm, eat before drinking to soak up the alcohol, have the odd soft drink to keep hydrated, plan their journeys home and keep an eye out for friends.

They are also advised if it is not an emergency, instead of calling 999, they should call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, visit a local pharmacy or GP, or make their own way to a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.