A&E and ambulance weekend warning

A&E and ambulance staff are preparing for one of its busiest weekends ever as the return of hot weather clashes with England’s World Cup quarter final with Portugal.

Rob Lawrence, spokesman for the new East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), which launches on Saturday, is appealing for people to behave sensibly on what promises to be an exciting weekend.

“Sunshine and Saturdays combined with an England game can be a potent mix, as we discovered to our cost on June 10, when 999 calls increase by nearly a quarter,” said Mr Lawrence.

“Many of these occurred after the final whistle between 5pm and midnight as a direct result of people having drunk too much, whether it be pure drunkenness, fights or falls.

“In Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire we attended 1,230 incidents on the Saturday and Sunday compared with 994 for the corresponding weekend last year.

“The obvious upshot is that our resources are stretched and our response times are bound to suffer, even though we are deploying additional resources.”

Ambulance officers, Community Paramedics (who normally work Monday to Friday), St John Ambulance and RAF response schemes will all be helping over the weekend.  

“There is nothing wrong with having a drink, watching the match and celebrating or commiserating, but we have seen people drinking from lunchtime until midnight and getting into trouble,” added Mr Lawrence.

“People need to make sure they take on plenty of food and water and look after themselves so that we can get on with our priority, which is helping people suffering from potentially life-threatening conditions.” 

A&E consultant Mr Mike Lambert said: “Football, alcohol and the heat are a heady combination. We want everyone to enjoy themselves and to take sensible precautions. Getting sunburnt is irresponsible and is not a medical emergency. If you do get sunburn you should visit a chemist and ask for calamine lotion and paracetamol. Try to rest in a cool environment, and drink plenty of fluids but not alcohol.”

Friday 30th of June 2006 10:00:25 AM