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Thousands of binge-drink and violence calls to ambulances in Kingston each year
Paramedics in Kingston are being called out thousands of times each year to deal with the repercussions of binge drinking and violence, including assaults on women and teenagers.
London Ambulance figures show alcohol was the number one crime or antisocial behaviour reason for paramedics to rush out to the borough’s streets between August 2011 and August this year.
Ambulance workers attended 1,293 binge drinking callouts, the figures collated by the service show.
Kingston Councillor Geoff Austin said: “This is certainly not a good use of resources. Ambulances ideally should be called to serious incidents.
“Binge drinking is not really something ambulance crews should be dealing with.”
Graham Snelling, chairman of Kingston Healthwatch, said: “Kingston is a town that has a considerable number of pubs and clubs so I suppose it kind of goes with that. But it is a concern.
“There is no room for complacency – we have got to drive these figures down. People who need an ambulance need an ambulance but we have got to minimise the numbers for binge drinkers.”
Ambulances were also called to 1,031 assaults during the same period, including 268 against women and 141 against teenagers.
q More paramedics are being recruited after London Ambulance’s medical director admitted a shortage during the inquest of a Worcester Park Christian missionary left waiting for more than an hour for an ambulance.
Dr Fionna Moore told the inquest of Nicolette Clarke, 49, who died after a cardiac arrest: “It has become apparent that we give a poorer response time in the last 12 months – our staff are exceptionally highly utilised.”
A spokesman said this week: “We have worked with our commissioners to establish what capacity we need to meet increases in demand, and are now in the process of recruiting more staff to help respond to patients who need an emergency ambulance.
“This includes qualified paramedics, although as our medical director Dr Moore stated at the inquest there are fewer of these available across the country.”
London Ambulance is responding to 74 per cent of Kingston calls in the C1 category, the least urgent, within 20 minutes.
Total callouts (Aug 2011- Aug 2013) 39,004
Binge drinking 1,293
Total assaults 1,031
Assaults on women 268
Assaults on teens 141
Gun injuries 2
Knife injuries 34
Injuries by animals 8
Heroin overdoses 9
Cocaine overdoses 8
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