We're urging people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption as the service expects one of the busiest weeks this year.
The week before Christmas marks the most popular time of year for parties and celebrations. For some it will be a night to remember for all the wrong reasons as drinking causes people to take risks which can endanger their life and cause avoidable additional pressures for the emergency services.
Ben Holdaway, Deputy Director of Operations, said: “Often patients who have been drinking excessively become high priority calls because their symptoms replicate those of someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest (unresponsive). Our crews are sent to the emergency at high speeds to reach the patient as quickly as possible and then find the patient to be intoxicated, needing a glass of water and a taxi home.
“We are urging you not to be the person who takes an ambulance away from someone who really needs help”.
Unfortunately during the Christmas period our staff can also become targets. Excessive drinking can cloud people’s judgement and we often see an increase in violent and aggressive behaviour towards our staff during this time of year.
“Please be mindful of your actions” added Ben. “Alcohol or substance abuse is not an excuse and doesn’t wash with us or the legal system. We want you to have fun but please take care and look out for your friends to make sure everyone gets home safely.”
So far this year (from April – November) 479 reported assaults against our staff including sexual assaults, verbal abuse and physical violence. Of those, 185 of the perpetrators were found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.