Was it really an emergency?

Monday 8th July 2013 – 4.10pm – Murray MacGregor.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is renewing calls for the public to use common sense with the Met Office predicting the high temperatures will continue for several more days.

Astonishingly, call numbers on Saturday were busier than New Year’s Eve, traditionally the busiest day of the year. Even today, Monday 8th July, call numbers are up 30% on the same day last week.

Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Diane Lee, said: “Having reviewed the figures from the weekend, so many of the calls we received were completely preventable.

“With such beautiful weather lots of people took the opportunity to go out. Unfortunately, that led to a rise in the number of alcohol related incidents we had to deal with. For example, people who collapsed and became unconscious from drinking too much; an increase in the number of people injured from falling over or injuring themselves in a variety of other ways while drunk. As a Trust we also saw an increase in the number of assaults compared to a normal Saturday night.

“We even had cases of sunburn that were alcohol related e.g. the patient who got drunk and fell asleep outside for several hours without sun cream on. There were also a number of cases of people who became dehydrated because they were outside for many hours without any fluids.

“The question we would put to people is this; if they were on their holiday in Spain or Greece, would they act in a similar manner? For the vast majority, the answer is no, because it would spoil their break. We would therefore ask people to act in a similar way at home and look after themselves; drinking plenty of water, using sun cream, wearing a hat and staying in the shade during the hottest part of the day (12 – 3pm).

“The concern for us is that hot weather brings genuine issues for a number of patients with long term conditions such as bronchitis and asthma. Both can be life threatening in certain circumstances so it is vital that we are able to deal with these calls quickly rather than having to deal with the hundreds of completely preventable cases that came in over the weekend.

“The latest information from the Met Office suggests that we are likely to see temperatures into the high twenties again tomorrow. Whilst midweek it may be a bit cloudier the weekend is likely to see temperatures similar or perhaps slightly higher than the weekend just gone.

“The last thing we want to do is stop people enjoying the wonderful weather, but we must ask everyone to use common sense and not put themselves and others at risk.”




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