Ambulance service warning over festive drinking

Share this article

East Midlands Ambulance Service is urging people to think carefully about their alcohol consumption as the service expects its busiest night this year

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, but for some it will be a night to remember for all the wrong reasons as drinking leads to them taking risks which endanger their health.

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

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 1548 calls on Friday 21st December, which is around a 20% 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. Is it life-threatening or could you make your own way to other NHS services, such as an urgent care centre, walk-in centre or your local GP or pharmacist? This will free up the 999 service for those who genuinely need emergency medical attention.