EMERGENCY medics are gearing up for New Year’s Eve, traditionally their busiest night of the year, when call demand can double.
During the last few hours of 2012, the number of 999 calls steadily increased towards midnight. In the last four hours of 2012 West Midlands Ambulance Service received 638 calls, a 15 per cent increase compared to the same period the previous year.
Numbers increased rapidly with the peak rate of calls between 1am and 4am, many were booze-fuelled fights, assaults, falls and overdoses. After midnight, the Trust saw demand on the ambulance service increase with an average of five 999 calls every 60 seconds.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “While the vast majority of people in the Region will be out celebrating, our staff will be working flat out. We will have dozens of additional staff working overnight staffing additional ambulances and rapid response vehicles.
“In addition, we will be working with voluntary organisations including St. John Ambulance, the Red Cross and Community First Responders.
“The last thing we want to do is to stop people having a good time and welcoming in the New Year in fine style but our experience of previous Hogmanay celebrations means that we will be expecting to see many preventable injuries.
“Sadly, because our staff are dealing with these, they aren’t available to get to the truly life threatening calls as quickly as they might have been able to which ultimately puts the lives of other people at risk.
“Enjoy yourself but please follow this simple advice and don’t drink too much, alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or fruit juice, never drink on an empty stomach, pace yourself by taking small sips.
"Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Opt out and drink at your own pace and avoid your drink being tampered with by never leave it unattended.
“Sadly, if this year is like the last few, we will have staff who will experience people shouting abuse at them; others will be kicked and punched and even spat at by patients and their friends and family.
“Make no mistake, wherever possible, we will press charges and work tirelessly to make people account for their despicable actions in the courts. Our staff are there to help people in their hour of need; please allow them to do so without fear or violence.”