REVELLERS in East Lancashire have been urged to drink responsibly and stay safe during their new year celebrations.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for emergency services as drinkers descend on bars and nightclubs across the country.

Ambulance bosses warned the service is 'incredibly busy' and 'does not have spare paramedics and ambulances' to deal with the extra calls which occasions such as New Year can bring.

Director of operations at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Ged Blezzard said: "The service is incredibly busy and we don’t have spare paramedics and ambulances to deal with the extra calls which occasions such as this present us with. This means that we really need people to take some responsibility for their own safety during this busy period.

“In genuine life-threatening emergencies, time matters.

"If people stop and think about their actions and try not to have one too many during the festive period, they can help us to get to the vulnerable and very poorly people that really need us – it could be on of their relatives relying on us.

“Come the morning after, it is also important to remember hangovers, headaches and feeling under the weather after a night out can generally be treated in your own home using medicine from your local pharmacist and getting plenty of rest and fluid.”

The warning comes as figures showed NWAS answered 4,111 emergency calls and attended 3,178 incidents on Christmas Day alone and this figure has increased on subsequent days as the trust urges the public to only call in the case of real emergencies.

Meanwhile, the head of the NHS in England Simon Stevens said drunk tanks may have to become the norm in towns and cities to keep 'selfish' revellers out of A&E.

He said he would be closely monitoring how the mobile units cope on New Year's Eve before deciding whether they should become a regular feature.

The units already feature in Newcastle, Cardiff, Manchester and Bristol.

Mr Blezzard added: “This Christmas has been one of our busiest ever and there are no indications that activity is going to reduce as we head towards New Year’s Eve – traditionally always our busiest day.

On December 27, we were astounded to see that our control staff had answered 5,491 emergency calls and we know that not all of these required an emergency ambulance response.

“Unfortunately, there have been some patients who have been waiting longer than we would like but I want to assure the public that we are doing the very best we can to reach people as quickly as possible, but if your condition is not urgent, you will wait some time for a response or be given advice on other healthcare options.”