Ambulance service prepares for Norfolk’s “Black Friday” of Christmas parties

The ambulance service is preparing for a surge in demand tomorrow night as the Christmas party season reaches a peak on the day emergency staff have dubbed 'Black Friday'.

One of the busiest nights of the year for emergency services traditionally falls on the Friday of the last full weekend before Christmas, due to low temperatures and festive over-indulgence.

Last year, Friday, December 17 alone saw 2,121 calls to 999 - a 25pc increase in calls on the Friday four weeks previously.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) bosses are advising revellers around Norfolk to party safely so they don't put their own health – or that of others – at risk.

Alan Murray, director of service delivery for EEAST, said: 'A night out which ends up in A&E is not fun, but one which is done without a risk to yourself where you end up getting home safe and sound is and it just requires being a little more conscious about drinking.

'Don't drink on an empty stomach, include soft drinks and lots of water and plan your journey home.'

EEAST is putting on extra resources to cope with the increase in demand but is urging people not to call unnecessarily so they can get to the patients who really need their help.

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Last weekend EEAST's three call centres handled 5,205 calls, nearly 300 more than the previous weekend and more than 200 over the amount the same weekend last year, when adverse weather had hit the region.

EEAST's associate director of emergency operations, Neil Storey, added that if people ensured they kept well and safe, everyone can benefit.

He said: 'Parties and gettogethers are a big feature of this time of year and while we are not against people having a good time, the public need to take responsibility for enjoying themselves safely.'

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