Ahead of the festive period, the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) is urging party-goers to drink responsibly whilst enjoying themselves and to think before they dial 999, only calling on the ambulance service for life threatening incidents.

The Friday before Christmas – ‘Mad Friday’ as it’s traditionally known - always sees a spike in emergency calls being received by the ambulance service, as people get into the festive spirit and the Christmas party season gets well underway.

On that day alone last year, NWAS attended 14% more incidents compared to the same day the previous year – A figure which is set to rise again this year, with many of the incidents being alcohol related.

NWAS Director of Operations, Derek Cartwright explains: “In genuine life-threatening emergencies, time matters. If people stop and think about drink this Christmas and take a sensible approach, they can play their part in ensuring ambulance crews are free to attend to vulnerable and very poorly people.” Calls received over the Christmas period in 2012 included blistered feet from wearing high heels, swollen and twisted ankles from slipping on ice and people calling to get a lift home as a taxi wasn’t available none of which required the use of the emergency services. NWAS urges people to keep ambulances free to attend to those with serious life threatening conditions.

Derek added: “It is also important to remember hangovers, headaches and feeling under the weather after a night out can generally be treated in your own home using medicine from your local pharmacist and getting plenty of rest.”

If you need advice for a health condition but are unsure of where to go for help, call NHS 111 -a free advice service intended for ‘urgent but not life-threatening’ health issues which is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.