Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Binge at Home before Going out, Say Medics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Binge at Home before Going out, Say Medics

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Goodchild and Lucy Osborne

AMBULANCE chiefs pleaded with Londoners today to "stop freeloading" and drink less. They issued a stern warning to revellers not to binge on alcohol before heading out for the night.

And paramedics told how the capital's drinkers are using ambulances as free taxis. They spoke as the Evening Standard joined staff on the "booze bus" which travels London treating casualties of excess drinking during the Christmas season.

Well-paid professionals comprisedmany of those on the bus and in the Alcohol Recovery Centre in Soho.

Jason Killens, deputy director of operations at London Ambulance Service (LAS), said: "We're an emergency service and someone who's freeloaded with alcohol and is worse for wear isn't an emergency. We are finding people are drinking more and for longer. They are consuming alcohol before they go out then topping it up."

Last night was the busiest on record for the Soho clinic. Opening for the Christmas period, it was at full capacity. Crews are bracing themselves for a another record tonight as thousands of Londoners head for office parties. They are anticipating more calls than last year, which reached 500 in one hour.

An estimated four out in five alcoholrelated emergency calls made to LAS this month have been from professionals who have been at their office party, according to paramedics.

Brian Hayes, who set up the booze bus in 2005, warned people who drink to excess are putting at risk the lives of others with serious health conditions.

"We're not a taxi service," he said.

"People think that's our role -- but it's not. Our role is to ease pressure on the ambulance service. …

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