Spectrum Community Health is urging the public to stay safe and drink responsibly ahead of “Mad Friday” on 23 December, one the busiest party nights of the year.
Traditionally the last Friday before Christmas, “Mad Friday” is a key part of the festive party season – but can be marred by heavy drinking. In early 2016, new alcohol guidelines issued by the Chief Medical Officer lowered the safe alcohol limit to 14 units per week for men and women and advised against drinking heavily in one session.
Jacqui Black, Clinical Operations Lead for Spectrum Community Health in Wakefield, said, “We know that people might be tempted to drink more during the Christmas period, but drinking heavily can put your health at risk and leave you vulnerable, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings. If you are celebrating on Friday, try to alternate between alcohol and soft drinks and appoint a ‘designated driver’ if you can, or make sure to book a taxi in advance. We hope that everyone enjoys a safe and enjoyable night.”
Higher levels of hospital admissions are also seen during “Mad Friday”. According to figures released by Public Health England, alcohol-related hospital admissions in Wakefield were almost 50% greater than the national average in 2015, with 885 admissions per 100,000 people compared to the average of 642. Many admissions on “Mad Friday” are due to falls and injuries caused by excessive drinking.
Dr Sarah Robertshaw, Head of Emergency Medicine at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “The festive period, and in particular the Friday before Christmas, can see people drinking much more than usual. 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. Alcohol-related injuries can stretch hard-pressed A&E departments to the limit.”
“We would also advise people to take care of their friends and family who may have had too much to drink: help them to get home safely and avoid injuring themselves.”
Spectrum Community Health works with Turning Point UK to provide substance misuse recovery as part of the Inspiring Recovery service, with clinics in Wakefield, Castleford and South Kirkby. The service can provide support and information on alcohol, including advice on how to cut down gradually and make small changes to your lifestyle. For more details, please contact 0300 123 1912.