Paramedics are gearing up for their busiest night of the year tonight as New Year’s Eve celebrations take place across South Yorkshire.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service are expecting hundreds of calls and are urging people not to call 999 for ‘trivial incidents and minor conditions’.
Dr Julian Mark, executive medical director at the trust, said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s night but we are asking those who are out and about on New Year’s Eve to think before each drink and stay safe to ensure they don’t put their own health or that of others at risk. We want everyone to enjoy their celebrations safely and sensibly.”
Last year, the ambulance service responded to almost 1,500 incidents in the 12 hours between 6pm on December 31, 2013 and 6am on January 1, 2014.
Between midnight and 3am, paramedics dealt with 55 emergency calls to people injured in assaults.
To help cope with the expected demand and reduce pressure on hospital casualty units, the ambulance service is setting up community medical units in Sheffield, Doncaster and Leeds.
Dr Mark said: “People can help themselves to have an enjoyable night and stay well. All it requires is to be aware of how much you’re drinking, eat beforehand, plan ahead for transport home and look after yourself and your friends.
“Please leave your car at home, use public transport or arrange alternative transport such as a taxi. If you are going to a party and know you’re going to be driving the next day, know your limits. You can choose lower strength drinks and drink single rather than double measures of spirits. It’s also a good idea to alternate the alcoholic drinks you do have with soft drinks or water and stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so you are free of the effects of alcohol by the following morning.
“Most of all please remember that the 999 number should only be used in serious medical emergencies and people should use the service responsibly to help ensure that our valuable resources are available for those who need them most.”
He added anyone who abuses paramedics as they work will face prosecution.
He said: “If New Year’s Eve this year mirrors those of previous years we will also have staff who find themselves on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse.
“This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will prosecute anyone who is offensive towards our staff who are there to help people in need.”