Paramedics under strain as two in three ambulance call-outs are drink-related
TWO-thirds of all ambulance call-outs at the weekend in Scotland are drink-related, new figures show.
The Scottish Ambulance Service audit shows that at weekends, around two-thirds of 999 calls made to it can be linked in some part to alcohol. Last year there were 27,281 cases where alcohol was noted on a patient’s case file following a call-out.
In 2010-11, there were 26,241 cases, and 22,571 the year before that, making a total of 76,093 over the past three years. The Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area had the most call-outs last year, with more than 9,000, followed by Lothian, Lanarkshire and Grampian.
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “Alcohol has a significant impact on ambulance operations and is often a factor in incidents of abuse and assaults on staff.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service audit found 68 per cent of all life-threatening emergencies it attended involved someone who had drunk alcohol.
The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the statistics via Freedom of Information laws, hope minimum alcohol pricing will help reduce the number of drink-related 999 calls. The party’s health spokesman, Jackson Carlaw, said: “Hopefully when alcohol minimum pricing is brought in we can see a change in these kinds of statistics.”
Figures for last year showed most alcohol-related calls occurred on a Saturday, followed by Sunday, Friday and Thursday. Tuesdays had the fewest.
Ambulance crews deal with around 3,000 alcohol-related incidents and 400 drug-related incidents at weekends each year in Glasgow city centre. Ambulance bosses say this costs the service around £664,000.
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