Overdoing the Christmas drinks blamed for 40pc increase in Norfolk ambulance calls

Monday, December 24, 2012
2.42 PM

The night dubbed Black Friday by emergency staff saw calls to the region’s ambulance service soar by more than 40pc in Norfolk.

And ambulance service bosses have blamed accidents caused by people indulging in a bit too much pre-Christmas drinking for contributing to the surge.

Following the dramatic rise the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), today urged the public to make sure they had everything in place to ensure a happy, healthy festive holiday.

Last weekend (December 21 to 23 inclusive) calls went up by more than 18pc in the Eastern region compared to the weekend four weeks previously.

The significant proportion of these were on the Friday night (December 21) which saw a rise of a third. There was an increase in every county, with a 42.2pc increase in calls in Norfolk (188 compared to 132) and a 69.32pc increase in Suffolk (149 compared to 88).

The ambulance service put in extra resources on the night, which is known as Black Friday because the peak of the party season on the last weekend before Christmas combines with winter illnesses and dipping temperatures to see calls soar.

Neil Storey, director of operations at the ambulance service said: “We want to thank our staff and volunteers for the sterling work they did over the whole weekend which saw a big increase in demand, mainly down to Friday night.

“It is impossible to break this down into exact causes but anecdotal evidence is that many calls on Friday were related to excess drinking. Again our advice is not to take indulgence too far. Christmas in A&E is no fun.”

Mr Storey urged ‘last minuters’ to stock up on necessary medicines and basics such as painkillers, indigestion tablets and cold remedies before the shops close today.

He said: “Everyone should keep themselves warm and protected and resist the temptation to go beyond indulging to ensure they have a great Christmas.

Our Get Wise in Winter campaign page on our website has more detailed advice.

“Only call 999 in an emergency like suspected cardiac or stroke. Minor calls will be redirected to a more appropriate health care provider like out of hours doctor or 111.”