Ambulance service appeals for people not to go mad, today

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The Ambulance Service has issued an appeal for people to drink responsibly over the festive period.

Today, thousands of party revellers are expected to hit the bars of Halifax in ‘Mad Friday’ celebrations.

With the Christmas party season well underway in the lead-up to 25 December and the New Year, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is urging those out celebrating to drink responsibly and only call for an ambulance in the event of a serious or life-

threatening emergency.

Alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents in the UK and this problem intensifies during the festive season when alcoholic drinks often play a central part of many celebrations and social get-togethers.

With more people out and about, the ambulance service is asking people to think about the consequences of drinking to excess and reminding them to drink sensibly to keep themselves, and others, safe and well.

The Service usually sees a significant increase in the number of 999 calls on the last Friday before Christmas, which has become known as ‘Mad Friday’ by those who choose to celebrate on this day every year.

Calls to the Trust’s 999 Emergency Operations Centre rose by 33 per cent between 6pm and 6am on the last Friday before Christmas last year with a similar jump in calls expected during this year’s festivities.

Dr Julian Mark, the Trust’s executive medical director, said: “The high number of calls we receive in the run up to Christmas and the New Year, particularly on the last Friday before Christmas Day and on New Year’s Eve itself, puts the service under significant pressure and makes it more difficult for us to ensure we can respond to all of our patients quickly.

“Our emergency ambulances are a lifeline to patients who find themselves in a genuine life-threatening emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, but our staff are often involved in looking after people who have drunk excessively or have sustained alcohol-fuelled injuries which could have been avoided.

“We don’t want to stop people enjoying a night out, but we’re asking that they drink sensibly to avoid the need to call 999 and keep ambulances available for those who genuinely need them.

“Please leave your car at home, use public transport or arrange alternative transport such as a taxi. If you go to a party and know you’re going to be driving the next day know your limits and don’t drive until you know that all the alcohol has left your system.

You can opt for lower strength drinks and drink singles rather than doubles when drinking spirits. It’s also a good idea to alternate the alcoholic drinks you do have with soft drinks or water and stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so your body has time to process the alcohol before the following morning.”

Over Christmas and on New Year’s Eve the ambulance service is running various initiatives across the county to ensure people with alcohol-related illnesses and injuries don’t place too much pressure on the service and on emergency departments in hospitals across Yorkshire. This includes establishing community medical units and using police and paramedic teams in busy city centres across the region.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is also reminding people who require treatment or advice for a minor illness or injury to consider other more appropriate healthcare services available to them such as self-care, pharmacists, GP surgeries, urgent care centres or NHS 111 and only to call 999 when someone is in need of time-critical life-saving help.