Ambulances in Scotland have to attend more than 60 incidents every day where a patient is so drunk that it has to be formally recorded by medics, according to official figures.
Paramedics had to treat around 12,000 people in the six months to the end of September who were so intoxicated it was noted on Scottish Ambulance Service systems.
More than 90,000 incidents have been recorded since 2012/13 where alcohol is not the primary reason for the call-out but has been named as an “additional factor”, for example where a drunk has cut their head after a fall.
Scotland's largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, had the highest number of alcohol-related 999 call-outs in the last six months at 3,849, followed by NHS Lothian with 1,935 and NHS Lanarkshire with 1,470.
The figures, unearthed by the Scottish Conservatives, followed a staff survey last month which showed anecdotally paramedics thought alcohol played at least some part in half of weekend call-outsThe Scottish Ambulance Service report also found that drink was also involved in 42 per cent of incidents on weekday evenings and one in six during the daytime.
Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory health spokesman, said the new statistics highlighted how "deep-rooted and complex" a problem alcohol is in Scottish society.
He said: "Not only is it harming those who are over consuming, but it is diverting scarce resources away from those whose need was not so avoidable.
"Of course the Scottish Government and NHS can always do more to discourage reckless patterns of drinking and provide more help for paramedics who have to repeatedly go into these challenging situations – often several times each shift.
"But ultimately this is a case of personal responsibility, and that's where the real change has to come from."...Continue reading...