AMBULANCE chiefs are asking people in Suffolk to make sure they have all necessary medication in place and to take care over the festive period, following a dramatic rise in calls last week.

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Emergency calls from those living in the county rose by nearly 70 per cent last Friday night when there were 149 calls, compared with the night of Friday, November 23, when there were 88 calls.

Last Friday was the height of the party season and has been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ by emergency staff.

Neil Storey, director of operations with the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “We want to thank our staff and volunteers for the sterling work they did over the whole weekend which saw a big increase in demand, mainly down to Friday night.

“It is impossible to break this down into exact causes but anecdotal evidence is that many calls on Friday were related to excess drinking.

“Again our advice is not to take indulgence too far. Christmas in A&E is no fun.”

Calls across the region for last weekend also rose by more than 18 per cent, compared with the weekend of November 23-25.

Mr Storey has also advised residents that calls to the service will be prioritised like they are in hospital accident and emergency departments.

This is to make sure that crews are able to get to the most serious patients first – the target for life-threatening conditions is to get to 75 per cent of cases within eight minutes.

People should only call 999 in an emergency and stock up on any medication before Christmas Day.

Mr Storey added: “Advice to the ‘last minuters’ out there is that it is not too late to stock up on necessary medicines and the basics you may need at this time of year like painkillers, indigestion tablets and cold remedies.

“Pharmacies will still be open today for over the counter medicines and your GP may be able to issue a prescription in a genuine emergency.”

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