Ambulance service sees surge in alcohol-related call outs after lockdown restrictions eased
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The North East Ambulance Service plea comes in the wake of the easing of lockdown rules which mean people can now meet up outside in groups of six, as well as a good spell of warm and sunny weather earlier this week.
It said the jump in incidents put pressure on its ability to help people with life-threatening conditions.
A spokesperson for the service said: “We want you to enjoy the fine weather and the ability to see more people now that restrictions are easing, but please be sensible, continue to follow the guidance and be 999-wise.
"We also want people to enjoy themselves over the Easter break, but please be sensible so as not to need our services.
“We have experienced issues this week of people calling 999 because they can’t get through on 111 when it’s busy – please visit 111.nhs.uk
“The 999 service should only ever be used for life-threatening emergencies.
"Calling for anything other than an emergency could mean someone who genuinely needs life-saving support is prevented from getting through to our health advisors
“If you need help over the Easter weekend, many pharmacies will still be open.
"If it’s not urgent, please wait until your GP is back open on Tuesday.”
Between 4pm on Tuesday, March 30, and 4am on Wednesday, March 31, it took 94 emergency calls relating to alcohol intoxication across the region.
During the same time from Wednesday into Thursday – when the weather was not as warm – that dropped to 39, so a 58% fall, while at the start of the week, from Monday into Tuesday, it had stood at 43 calls.
Of the 94 reports made during that peak period, 15 of the calls were in South Tyneside, four were in the city of Sunderland’s area, 34 were in Teesside, including three in Hartlepool, 21 were in County Durham, six were in Northumberland and 18 were in Newcastle and North Tyneside.