Alcohol-related calls highest ever across the capital

Alcohol-related 999 incidents highest ever The London Ambulance Service has seen the biggest rise in alcohol-related incidents across the capital since 2008.

Last year (2010/11) staff dealt with 68,792 patients who’d had too much to drink – an increase of 7.9 per cent since the year before.

Ambulance Operations Manager Athar Khan said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

There are a number of things that people can do to help themselves and to avoid having to call an ambulance:

  • Eat before drinking to help soak up alcohol.
  • Have the odd soft drink to keep hydrated.
  • Plan your journey home and don’t leave it to chance. 
  • Keep an eye on your friends and make sure that no one gets left behind, as these are the people who we are often called out to help.

To help our staff deal with alcohol-related calls, the Service runs dedicated alternative response vehicles, dubbed ‘booze buses’, in central London every weekend. These specially equipped vehicles can carry up to five patients, meaning frontline ambulances can be saved for people with life-threatening conditions or illnesses.  

Boroughs with the highest proportion of alcohol-related incidents

Primary care trust

Alcohol-related incidents

% of incidents that are alcohol-related

Westminster

6,748

13.3

Camden

3,899

10.9

Lambeth

3,445

 7.8 

Southwark

3,118

7.1

City & Hackney

3,027

8.0

 

Boroughs with the biggest increases in alcohol-related incidents since 2009/10

Primary care trust

Alcohol-related incidents

% increase since 2009/10

Kingston

1,320

19.6

Barnet

1,995

18.2

Tower Hamlets

2,335

17.1

Brent

2,426

16.6

Harrow

1,104

16.6

Notes to editors: