Ambulance service set up ‘field hospital’


By Cara SuliemanAN UNUSUAL approach to the increase in drunken revellers over the festive season will be put into force in the capital.

A paramedic tent will be put up in Edinburgh city centre to deal with the increase in injured party goers in the run up to the New Year.

Filled with the same gear as an ambulance, the “field hospital” has been set up on the Royal Mile in an attempt to deal with the increasing number of drunks.

The ambulance service has already seen a rise in the number of calls, especially on a Friday and Saturday night. A number of the 999 calls made are not actually emergencies and the paramedic tent is an attempt to cope with these calls.

The site was chosen as it is big enough to deal with the facility and is within walking distance of most of the city’s nightclubs.

John Alexander, head of the ambulance service for the Lothians said: “The volume of calls always rises at this time of year, but so far it has been unprecedented so we felt we should try something over the coming weekends.

“It is a pilot scheme and we don’t really know how it will pan out. Obviously if someone does need hospital treatment we will have vehicles nearby ready to take them, but in many cases the only problem is drunkenness and the remedy is a taxi home.”

The tent will be in place every Friday and Saturday night until the New Year. If successful, the scheme will be put in place every December and during the summer festival season. A similar set up is already in place at Hogmanay.

Local politicians, who feel that it is the best way to cope with the increased strain on the NHS, have welcomed the move.

Conservative city centre councillor Joana Mowatt: “This is an entirely sensible idea. It keeps people out of A&E who needn’t be there and allows them to be patched up and sent on their way. I only hope the medical staff don’t suffer any kind of abuse.”