The number of alcohol-related incidents attended by the London Ambulance Service has risen by the highest amount since 2008.
According to official statistics, LAS staff dealt with 68,792 patients in 2010/11 who’d had too much to drink – an increase of 7.9 per cent on the year before.
Excessive alcohol consumption is playing an ever-increasing part in call-outs attended by ambulance crews.
In October 2010 the Service revealed that 50 youths needed an ambulance every week due to excessive alcohol consumption while figures published in January showed New Year’s Eve was the service’s “busiest ever night” with over 2,600 calls received by its control room.
According to this year’s figures, Westminster has the highest number of alcohol-related incidents (6,748) and the highest percentage of callouts which are alcohol-related (13.3%):
Source: London Ambulance Service
Ambulance Operations Manager Athar Khan said: “On average our staff now deal with 188 drunk patients every single day and that takes resources away from people who really need our help.
“Drinking too much can put people at risk. It impairs your judgement, affects the quality of sleep you get and, in the longer term, it can lead to serious illnesses like liver or heart disease.
“People should go out and have a good time but think about the consequences of excessive drinking on your health, the ambulance service and the wider NHS. Don’t put extra pressure on us at the end of a night out.
“We need to be able to take care of patients in life-threatening emergencies, for example people suffering a cardiac arrest or those with serious injuries. If our staff are dealing with patients who are simply drunk, they won’t be able to do that.
“People must consider other healthcare options available to them, including making their own way to hospital – going in an ambulance will not mean you’ll be seen any quicker.”