Ambulance service prepares for deluge of calls during New Year’s Eve

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South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is asking the public for its support and patience as it prepares to receive close to three calls a minute over New Year’s Eve. The

Trust will be prioritise its response to its most seriously ill and life-threatened patients throughout the period.

Calls which do not relate to a serious emergency will be assigned to a lower category of response and are likely to have to wait longer than normal at periods of increased demand. Anyone not facing an emergency is urged to make use of NHS 111 for advice.

Last New Year’s Eve SECAmb handled close to 850 calls to its 999 service in the seven hours after 8pm. Calls handled per hour doubled from 61 between 8pm-9pm, to 120 between 9pm-10pm. Demand was at its highest between midnight and 1am as staff in the Trust’s two Emergency Operations Centres managed 173 calls. This New Year’s Eve is once again expected to place significant pressure on the service.

Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said: “Our control room staff, crews and volunteers out on the road, as well as a variety of support staff in departments such as fleet will be working as hard as ever to ensure people get the help they require as we prioritise our response to our sickest patients. I would urge people to remember to use NHS 111 for advice when it’s not an emergency. NHS 111 will also be busy but by choosing the right service people can really help us manage our demand.

“On the night itself, we want people to have fun but be sensible and look out for each other. If people are drinking alcohol, I’d urge them to also have soft drinks and remember to eat. The vast majority of calls relating to alcohol on New Year’s Eve are avoidable. If these can be cut down we are in a far better place to respond to the unavoidable emergencies which are in urgent need of our attendance.”