‘Mad Friday’ fear for emergency services

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The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is urging people to behave responsibly tomorrow and only dial 999 if absolutely necessary.

The last Friday before Christmas is always a busy time for the emergency services and last year calls to the Trust emergency operations centre rose 30 per cent.

Between 6 pm and 6 pm there were over 260 additional calls and a similar jump is likely tomorrow.

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 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’re certainly not trying to stop people enjoying a night out, but ask that they drink sensibly to avoid the need to call 999 and keep ambulances available for those with a genuine need.”

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 static medical units and using police and paramedic teams in busy centres across the region.