Rise in alcohol-related injuries

A PRE-CHRISTMAS surge in alcohol related injuries has already increased the work of ambulance workers, a leading paramedic said today.Jason Gillingham, a volunteer at St John's Ambulance and operations manager at the East of England Ambulance Service, said the amount of alcohol-related incidents resulting in minor injuries had already increased by 10 per cent and he expects this to rise even more in the weeks leading up to the festive period.

A PRE-CHRISTMAS surge in alcohol related injuries has already increased the work of ambulance workers, a leading paramedic said today.

Jason Gillingham, a volunteer at St John's Ambulance and operations manager at the East of England Ambulance Service, said the amount of alcohol-related incidents resulting in minor injuries had already increased by 10 per cent and he expects this to rise even more in the weeks leading up to the festive period.

He said: “We are about ten per cent busier than we were last year and in the last seven or eight years it's risen by 10 per cent per year so we are probably doing double the amount that we were doing seven or eight years ago.”

As a result St John's Ambulance plans to set up a special treatment area with a mobile first aid unit in an attempt to alleviate the extra work that ambulance staff deal with during the Christmas period.

Mr Gillingham said: “At Christmas we always see a high surge in the number of incidents that we are called to, which is either alcohol induced or minor injuries following assaults.

“The first aid units are designed to take the work load off the main accident and emergency services so we can get them attending to the acutely ill patients and the units would be used for mainly walking wounded injuries.

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“So if somebody has a road accident or a heart attack they're not going to be taken to the mobile unit although the units will also have the capabilities to deal with something serious if it happens.”

Mr Gillingham said St John's Ambulance was expecting a 50 per cent rise in incidents over the festive season and he said their workload had already increased significantly.

He said: “People have already started celebrating Christmas and alcohol-related problems have increased a lot in the past few weeks which we do expect at this time of year.

“There's also been vomiting bugs going around and the weather has been a lot colder than we have been use to before.”

Although the exact location of the special treatment units have not yet been clarified Mr Gillingham has said they will be based somewhere in Ipswich town centre.

He said: “We held the units in Cardinal Park last year but we can't confirm yet that it will definitely be there again but it will definitely be somewhere in the town centre, in a central location.”

The special treatment areas will be open from 10pm until 3am on December 14, 15, 21, 22 and 31.

Do you think more should be done to tackle alcohol-related problems in Ipswich?

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