Impact News

70% Increase in Alcohol Related 999 Calls in Nottingham

Students calling ambulances for alcohol related incidents have increased by 70% in the last ten years, and are costing the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) an average of £230 per call.

Michelle Broughton, EMAS paramedic for over 10 years, told Impact, “No one is responsible any more. They don’t know how to look after drunk people.

“We’re the taxis now”.

“If you have a drunk friend, who’s been hit for example, yeah he’s cut and there’s blood, but you just need to put some pressure on it, sober up, get in a taxi and go to hospital.

“But we’re the taxis now.”

The EMAS receives over 12,000 alcohol related calls per month. 999 calls have gone up 70% in the last 10 years and admissions to hospital due to drinking, have also doubled in that time.

“If this carries on we will be in so much trouble”.

“If this carries on we will be in so much more trouble in another 10 years time,” says Simon Clunie, EMAS paramedic and team leader.

Clunie recalls the night of Thursday 31st October 2013 where the ambulance service received 30 alcohol related calls in the space of three to four hours.

“A guy jumped over the temporary railings [outside Forum] and landed head first on the ground”.

“Outside Forum, a guy jumped over the temporary railings and landed head first on the ground. He was under the influence of alcohol and he added a head injury on top of that.

“Another girl had very high blood sugars. She was diabetic so her case was a culmination of both alcohol consumption and her condition.

“A guy round the corner from these incidents was throwing up blood, and another lad on the same night had a very slow pulse, and his temperature was 34 degrees. He was hypothermic.

“All these situations were life threatening as all the patients were unconscious, so they all had to be responded to within eight minutes and they all had to go to hospital.

“You can’t just leave these people because we have a duty of care once we’re involved.”

Alcohol misuse costs the NHS £3.5 billion a year.

Clunie attributes these alcohol related issues to students because of peer pressure and being away from their parents.

“When they get that bad they have no choice but to ring us. People don’t know where else to turn so they call the ambulance service. Like the police, they trust us.”

“People don’t know who else to call”.

In the UK, over 1.6 million people are dependent on alcohol and alcohol misuse costs the NHS £3.5 billion a year.

“To be fair to students I wouldn’t want to single them out,” adds Clunie. “Younger people in general tend to do this more now. People don’t know who else to call.

“But as a Nottingham resident – not a paramedic – I think students bring more positives than negatives to the community. They bring money into the economy, and they are polite and helpful. They are our future – so you have to put up with them a little bit.”

Antonia Paget

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Image: Benjamin Ellis via Flickr

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