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Alcohol emergency figures rise 12 per cent

From The Publican

By James Wilmore , 22-Nov-2007

Alcohol-related 999 calls to the London Ambulance Service have risen by 12 per cent in the capital in the last two years, new figures have revealed.

The figures show that in the 10 months between last November and September 2007, the service responded to 38,849 alcohol-related incidents, compared to 34,707 over the same period two years ago.

Over the same period the overall number of incidents attended increased by three per cent, the ambulance service said.

According to the figures, there was a two per cent increase in alcohol-related calls in the 10 months following the introduction of the new licensing laws.

However, calls then increased by a further 10 per cent between 24 November 2006 and the end of September this year compared to that same period in the previous year (and against a two per cent increase in overall workload).

It means that alcohol-related calls to the service since the introduction of licensing laws have risen at four times the rate of total demand.

They now make up nearly five per cent of all 999 calls, a rise of nearly half a per cent on two years ago.

The figures are based only on information received at the time of the 999 call, or for incidents where staff have then specifically recorded alcohol as being the main reason for being called to attend a patient, meaning that the true numbers are likely to be higher.

London Ambulance Service deputy director of operations Russell Smith said: "Alcohol-related calls continue to be a real issue for us, especially on both Friday and Saturday nights, and particularly as we know alcohol is a factor in many more of the incidents we are attending, such as assaults and minor falls and injuries.

"We're not killjoys, but would continue to urge people to take responsibility for how much they drink and to do it safely."

Almost every London borough has seen increases in alcohol-related calls in the last couple of years.

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