Drunks in Lewisham and Greenwich cost ambulance service a total £422,000 in one year (From News Shopper)
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Drunks in Lewisham and Greenwich cost ambulance service a total £422,000 in one year
New figures might leave you reeling after it was revealed Lewisham’s drunks cost London’s Ambulance Service (LAS) around £219k in just one year.
Greenwich’s binge-drinkers stagger close behind after FOI figures requested by GLA Conservatives show LAS spent around £203k between 2012 to 2013 responding to and treating drunks in the borough.
There are calls for ‘booze buses’ to be brought to the capital’s binge-drinking hotspots and stop clogging up emergency services and prisons with a total £16m LAS cash spent across London on drunks.
LAS responded to 945 alcohol-related incidents in Lewisham between 2012 to 2013 which makes it the 14th worst borough in terms of binge-drinking callouts in the capital.
Meanwhile ambulance staff had to attend 879 similar incidents in Greenwich for the same period which makes it the 16th worst London borough.
A new report by GLA Conservatives On the Wagon calls for sobering centres and booze buses, manned by nurses, to operate on troubled high streets all year round.
GLA Conservative London Assembly Member Gareth Bacon 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.”
He went on to say the booze buses and sobering centres could provide low-level treatment such as blood pressure and blood sugar checks as well as a bed for the night.
Greenwich currently has 704 on and off licenced locations which sobering services could be targeted towards while Lewisham has 659.
The report stresses services would be for binge-drinkers and not for people with alcohol poisoning or chronic alcoholism who should seek NHS help.
It also calls for Parliament to double drunk fines to £180 and target drunk individuals who repeatedly use public services.
The GLA Conservative group believe fines could help encourage better drinking behaviour in Greenwich where 14 per cent of over 16s reportedly engage in binge-drinking with 13 per cent in Lewisham.
Mr Bacon added: “We need to deter this behaviour by doubling fines for drunkenness to £180 and hitting those who repeatedly abuse our health services, many of whom are currently getting off scot-free.
“The cash raised could fund targeted support and guidance for repeat offenders. The Mayor of London needs to lobby Parliament to make this happen and I’ll be urging him to do so. ”
To view the full report visit glaconservatives.co.uk/ow
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