Rise in big boozers cost ambulances £302,000

Drunken behaviour is costing the ambulance service thousands of pounds

Drunken behaviour is costing the ambulance service thousands of pounds - Credit: Archant

Drunks are costing ambulances in the borough £302,000 per year, new figures reveal.

The borough’s binge drinkers are costing the ambulance service £302k, as Hackney ranks as the fifth worst borough for drunken call outs.

A Freedom of Information request shows that alcohol cost the capital’s ambulance service £16m every year, with 1,304 such incidents in Hackney last year.

Conservative campaigners are backing plans to bring a ‘booze bus’ to the borough, where nurses can deal with people under the influence without the need to call out hard-stretched ambulance services. They are also calling for the doubling of fines for drinkers to “hit those who repeatedly abuse our NHS.”

Admissions relating to alcohol in London’s hospitals have tripled in the last decade - from 56k in 2002 to 156k in 2011, putting a heavy burden on the city’s already struggling accident and emergency centres. The cost to the public purse for emergency hospital admissions relating to alcohol is around £45m.

GLA Conservative London Assembly Member, Andrew Boff said: “Many people like a tipple but our public services should not be catering for bingers who can’t handle their drink.

“Our ambulances, prison cells and A&Es are designed for medical emergencies or dangerous criminals, yet we are seeing London’s drunks hogging these services, costing the capital millions of pounds.

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“We need to deal with drunks in a more appropriate way. Purpose-built Sobering Centres and Booze Buses, manned by nurses, can provide low level treatment such as blood pressure and blood sugar checks as well as a bed for the night. This will deliver significant savings by freeing up prison cells and emergency rooms for London’s real problems.”

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