AMBULANCE crews are preparing for one of the busiest nights of the year as workplaces empty and the office party season moves into full swing.
The Welsh Ambulance Service has teamed up with police forces, health boards and local authorities across Flintshire to ensure tonight – often referred to as ‘Mad Friday’ – passes without a hitch.
Mad Friday is the last Friday before Christmas and is traditionally a popular night for office parties and people going out to enjoy the festive celebrations after finishing work.
As a result it has gained a reputation as one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants, pubs and the emergency services.
The ambulance service received 1,124 calls on Mad Friday last year, compared to 811 calls on the same night in 2011 and 1,242 calls in 2010.
This is above the service’s normal Friday night call level of about 750.
The ambulance trust is urging partygoers to stay safe and drink responsibly to avoid a flood of cases needing treatment by paramedics and in accident and emergency wards.
Richard Lee, head of clinical services for the trust, said: “This time of the year traditionally sees a surge in demand for our services with additional pressure on ambulance crews and Clinical Contact Centre staff. It’s easy to forget how much alcohol you have consumed when you’re enjoying yourself, but while we are dealing with alcohol-related incidents, we could be delayed in treating someone with a more serious or life-threatening condition.
“Parties and get-togethers are a big feature of this time of year. We are not killjoys but we are asking the public to drink responsibly and enjoy themselves safely.
“The safest way to enjoy alcohol is not to drink on an empty stomach, alternate water and soft drinks with alcoholic ones. Please look after your friends and make sure that you have planned a way of getting home at the end of your night out.”
Tonight the trust is putting on extra resources across Wales, with special initiatives in larger towns such as Wrexham.
The public is encouraged to support NHS Wales’ Choose Well campaign to ensure busy emergency services are available for those who need them most urgently.
For advice and treatment of most illnesses, visit your GP or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for confidential health advice and information.
Treatment for minor injuries, such as cuts, bites, stings and muscle and joint injuries can be provided at local minor injuries units, where there is no need for an appointment.
Revellers are advised to only dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency, if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk.