AMBULANCES attended more than 650 drink-related emergencies across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire last year.

Figures released by the Scottish Conservatives show that crews were called to alcohol-related incidents 510 times in Renfrewshire and on 142 occasions in East Renfrewshire.

Scottish Conservative public health spokeswoman Annie Wells said it is clear that people who have consumed too much alcohol are “putting an immense and unnecessary strain” on the ambulance service.

She added: “No-one will be more annoyed than hard-working paramedics that this particular challenge stands in the way of helping patients who have fallen ill through no fault of their own.

“What’s more worrying is the real scale of this will be so much higher, as these are only the incidents when the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) has deemed it necessary to specifically record alcohol as a factor.

“We need to start discussing measures that could take the pressure off paramedics when dealing with this, including the possible role of temporary units in towns and cities to deal with those who’ve consumed too much, meaning they wouldn’t need to go to accident and emergency or trouble the SAS.”

The numbers represent the amount of incidents where alcohol was listed as an ‘additional factor’ in the emergency.

In Renfrewshire, the total of 510 such incidents in 2017 is a decrease of 12 per cent since the previous year and a 39 per cent drop on the 2015 total of 836.

Meanwhile, East Renfrewshire has seen the number of alcohol-related emergencies in its area drop by 15 per cent since 2015.

However, the numbers have gone up by seven per cent over the past year, from 132 to 142.

In Scotland as a whole, ambulance crews dealt with more than 15,000 emergencies last year where alcohol was considered to be a factor.

In total, there have been 53,141 alcohol-related incidents in the past three years – the equivalent of nearly 50 a day.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scottish Ambulance Service staffing has increased by nearly 24 per cent since 2006 and we have increased the ambulance service budget by 46 per cent, to £237million, while we are committed to training a further 1,000 paramedics by 2021.

“We recognise the damaging impact misuse can have, not just on individuals but the public services who respond.

“We have taken a number of actions to tackle alcohol misuse, including pressing ahead with minimum unit pricing, and we will be refreshing our alcohol strategy shortly.”

The Scottish Conservatives used Freedom of Information legislation to establish the number of alcohol-related callouts for ambulance staff.

Glasgow had the highest number of instances in 2017, with a total of 3,783, followed by Edinburgh with 1,674 and North Lanarkshire with 1,279.

Figures for Orkney show only four such incidents took place.