New Year revellers urged to take care

AMBULANCE bosses are urging revellers to take care this New Year's Eve following a hike in the number of calls over the festive season compared to last year.

AMBULANCE bosses are urging revellers to take care this New Year's Eve following a hike in the number of calls over the festive season compared to last year.

Icy weather conditions during the Christmas period was in part responsible for the 36.2pc increase in calls needing hospital treatment, putting added pressure on East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) crews.

However on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day a number of calls also appeared to be alcohol-related, such as fights, assaults, falls and loss of consciousness.

Over those two days the control room received 618 calls for Suffolk, 459 of which received an emergency response from an ambulance or rapid response vehicle, a rise of 23.4pc compared to last year.

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Out of those a total of 252 were taken to local hospitals for further treatment - a 36.2pc increase on 2008.

Dr Nick Morton, EEAS medical director, said: 'Our staff have been very busy in often difficult circumstances, giving up their own festive celebrations to help others, and have managed extremely well, my thanks go out to them.'

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He urged people to take care this New Year's Eve to ensure a safe and well celebration.

'Historically New Year's Eve and the early morning of New Year's Day are some of the busiest hours of the year for the ambulance service,' said Dr Morton.

'People need to take care of themselves and their friends as they celebrate. Too much alcohol can cause illness and injury and drinking can also be a factor in assaults and in serious road traffic collisions when someone decides to drive after drinking. Unfortunately, our service sees these kinds of incidents every year. Of course we want people to enjoy themselves but ending up in A&E isn't a great place to start 2010.

'Adverse weather conditions have put the ambulance service under intense pressure over the last few weeks. We are hoping people in Norfolk will support us in preventing as many emergency calls as possible over New Year so that we can concentrate on providing the best and fastest possible emergency care for patients who are suffering serious illness and need urgent treatment.'

EEAS have issued a few simple tips to make this New Year a special one to remember:

* Avoid drinking on an empty stomach

* Pace yourself, there's no rush - drink slowly

* Include soft drinks in your celebration

* Don't leave yourself vulnerable - plan how you will get home and if necessary pre-book a taxi

And for the morning after:

* Drink plenty of water to rehydrate

* Avoid 'hair of the dog.'

Call NHS Direct which is available 24/7 on 08454647 for advice if you don't know whether you need an emergency response or not.

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