AMBULANCE chiefs are pleading with Buddies to watch how much they are drinking this Hogmanay.
The Scottish Ambulance Service will increase resources by up to 20 per cent at peak periods over the New Year period to cope with the surge in 999 calls as the festive party season reaches full flow and revellers ring in the bells for 2010.
During the festive period last year, the Scottish Ambulance Service coped with a 19.5 per cent increase on the normal average for emergency 999 responses across the country – meaning there were an additional 7,081 incidents to deal with, most of which were alcohol related.
Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, is asking people across Renfrewshire to take a sensible approach to alcohol over the New Year celebrations.
She said: “This is a period when most people enjoy parties, as well as spending time with their friends and families, but it’s the toughest time of the year for our ambulance crews and control room staff.
“Not only are they working harder than ever before but, because most of the calls involve alcohol, they will unfortunately face a higher level of abuse from some patients.
“We have put in place contingency plans to deal with the expected surge in 999 calls and would ask people to drink sensibly when they are out celebrating over the festive period.
“By doing so, they will help us make sure that we are sending ambulance crews to those who really need our help, rather than people who have simply had too much to drink.
“Every time we send an ambulance to a call that didn’t need one, we have one fewer to respond to a life-threatening emergency.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service is working in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and Strathclyde Police to deal with the increase in drink-related incidents.
The average response time to a life-threatening call in Scotland is just over seven minutes.
Last year, the Scottish Ambulance Service responded to 43,405 emergency calls during the festive period between December 2 and January 2.