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Plea for Appropriate Use of Ambulances on New Year’s Eve

31 December 2013

Ambulance bosses are again appealing for people in the region to use the emergency service wisely as they complete their final preparations for what is traditionally the busiest night of the year - New Year’s Eve.

Last year Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust responded to 1,477 incidents over the 12-hour period from 18.00 on 31 December 2012 to 06.00 on 1 January 2013 (788 of these (over 50%) were between midnight and 06.00). The busiest time was in the early hours of the morning and between midnight and 02.00 there were 47 emergency calls to assaults.

David Williams, Deputy Director of Operations at the Trust, says they have extra resources available to cope with the extra demand but warns that 999 calls for trivial incidents and minor conditions can potentially put those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries at risk.

He said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but we are asking those who are out and about on New Year’s Eve to think before each drink and stay safe to ensure they don’t put their own health or that of others at risk and enjoy their celebrations safely and sensibly.

“People can help themselves to have an enjoyable night and stay well. All it requires is to be conscious of how much you’re drinking, eat beforehand, plan ahead for transport home and look after yourself and your friends.

“Please leave your car at home, use public transport or arrange alternative transport such as a taxi. If you are going to a party and know you're going to be driving the next day know your limits. You can opt for lower strength drinks and drink singles rather than doubles when drinking spirits. It’s also a good idea to alternate the alcoholic drinks you do have with soft drinks or water and stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so your body has time to process the alcohol before the following morning.

“Most of all remember that the 999 number should only be used in serious medical emergencies and people should use the service responsibly to help ensure that our valuable resources are available for those who need them most.”

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 hospital emergency departments. This includes establishing static medical units in Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and York and the use of police and paramedic teams in busy town and city centres across the region.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is also reminding people who require treatment or advice for a minor illness or injury to consider other more appropriate healthcare services available to them such as self-care, pharmacists, GP surgeries, urgent care centres or NHS 111 and only to call 999 when someone is in need of time-critical life-saving help.

David Williams continued: “If tonight mirrors previous years we will also have staff who find themselves on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse. This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will prosecute anyone who is offensive towards our staff who are there to help people in need.”

Click here for details on where to find the most appropriate help: http://www.yas.nhs.uk/Calling999/Choose_Well.html


  • People should not regularly exceed their recommended daily amounts of alcohol, which is three to four units for a man and two to three units for a woman. To put that into real terms a pint of 4% lager contains 2.3 units as does a 175ml glass of 13% wine.
  • Examples of when you should call 999 for an ambulance: chest pain, difficulty in breathing, loss of consciousness, heavy loss of blood, severe burns and scalds, choking, fitting/convulsions, drowning, severe allergic reaction and head injury. Please note: This is not an exhaustive list.

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