Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's No New Year Booze Cruise

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's No New Year Booze Cruise

Article excerpt

Byline: By Matt Casey

Emergency services were stretched to their limit as boozed-up revellers celebrated the New Year on Tyneside.

Police and paramedics were called to hundreds of alcohol and drug-related incidents.

North East Ambulance staff received more than double the usual number of calls as thousands hit the pubs.

From noon on December 31 to noon on January 1 paramedics responded to 1,390 incidents.

The average number of calls received by the control complex per day is 650.

On New Year's Eve, the ambulance service's Control Complex received 527 calls and from midnight until noon on New Year's Day 865 calls were received.

The main categories of calls received were for assaults, falls, breathing difficulties, drink/drug incidents and chest pain.

Paul Liversidge, director of accident and emergency services, praised staff for coping extremely well with the high demand.

He said: "I would like to thank all of our staff involved in coping with a high number of calls over the holiday.

"This year has been busy for our crews but demand has been lower than in previous years.

"However, there is still an immense amount of pressure on our staff but they have all worked extremely hard to ensure all incidents have been responded to.

"It is frustrating for crews when they have to deal with minor injuries instead of life-threatening cases which they are highly-trained to deal with.

"However, they continued to deal with all cases with professionalism and enthusiasm.

"I would also like to thank the voluntary agencies, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, all of whom continuously support us during the festive period."

Although busy it was a drop on the same period last year when 1643 999 calls were made for ambulances.

Northumbria Police said they had a busy night, although no figures have yet been released.

An increased police presence was visible in Newcastle city centre on Saturday and officers dealt with more than 1,000 incidents in the first eight hours of 2006.

A spokesman said: "It was a busy night and probably on par with last year. …

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