The ambulance service has thanked the public and praised its staff during what was an extremely busy Christmas and New Year.
During the last two weeks of the year, emergency operations centre staff at South East Coast Ambulance Service received more than 50,000 999 calls across Kent, Surrey and Sussex – an average of approximately 3,000 calls every day. And on New Year’s Eve between 10pm and 4am on January 1, they handled 1,146 999 calls – an average of more than three calls a minute.
This compares to 1,167 999 calls across the region for the same time period last year. However, calls across just New Year’s Eve alone were up on last year with more than 2,700 in the 24 hours period – an increase of about 500 on 2013.
The NHS 111 centre staff have also had an extremely busy end to the year with call volume high with Christmas Day and Boxing Day being followed by a weekend.
Ambulance crews out on the road worked flat out to reach and treat those in most need as quickly as possible, while Patient Transport Service teams have also been at full stretch to get patients to appointments and back home from hospital.
SECAmb chief executive Paul Sutton said, “This time of year and New Year’s Eve in particular is always incredibly busy for the ambulance service and we were expecting no difference this year. We plan ahead to best meet this demand but it is the dedication of all our staff which ensure that we respond to those in most need quickly and safely.”
The service has also thanked its Community First Responders, chaplains, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.