Safe drinking plea as hospitals prepare for Mad Friday

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Christmas drinkers are being urged to stay safe and avoid ending up in hospital as short-staffed A&E departments struggle to cope.

NHS hospitals and the ambulance service are bracing themselves for a surge in call-outs during “mad Friday”, the traditional end-of-work festive booze-up.

Bosses at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, said drunken A&E admissions could place an extra strain on services in the weekends before Christmas.

Dr Sarah Robertshaw, head of clinical service for emergency medicine, said: “We don’t want to be killjoys and dampen the festive spirit but we do want people to remember their Christmas party for the right reason, and not because they ended the night in A&E.

“We would advise people to pace themselves and to try to drink sensibly.”

Mid Yorkshire is among the busiest NHS organisations in the country for emergency attendances.

Delays in A&E have left ambulance crews stuck outside A&E waiting to hand patients over to hospital staff, leaving them unable to respond to fresh 999 calls.

In October, ambulances were delays by 30 minutes or longer outside A&E on 824 occasions. Ambulances handovers took more than an hour on 293 occasions that month, latest figures show.

Bosses at Mid Yorkshire said people should only go to A&E in a genuine emergency.

People with minor injuries or ailments should see their GP or pharmacist, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111.