More than four calls a minute were handled by the local ambulance service on New Year’s Eve.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) received 1,544 calls between 10pm on December 31 and 4am on January 1 – an increase of more than 20 per cent on last year.
Despite the increase the Trust sent a clinician to almost 100 fewer incidents than last year with more incidents being handled with clinicians in the Trust’s Emergency Operations Centres providing expert medical assistance over the phone or with call takers directing callers to a more appropriate service.
The Trust would like to praise the efforts of all SECAmb staff who worked on New Year’s Eve and throughout the whole festive period.
SECAmb would also like to praise the efforts and commitment of its volunteers including its community first responders, chaplains, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.
The top reasons for people calling SECAmb on New Year’s Eve were to report assaults, falls, breathing problems, trauma and mental health issues.
SECAmb chief executive Paul Sutton said, “Christmas and New Year’s Eve is always a very challenging time of year for the ambulance service and this year was particularly busy for all our staff and volunteers.
“Every year we have robust plans in place to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver a safe, timely and quality service to our patients, despite the fact that we receive a significant increase in calls.
“Every year we receive a significant number of calls for which an ambulance isn’t necessarily the most appropriate response.
“Our emergency medical advisors and clinicians in our emergency operations centres are able to provide expert help and advice and also direct callers to a more appropriate service for their needs.
“I’d like to personally thank everyone for their efforts, hard work and commitment this festive period and throughout the whole of 2012.”