South East Coast Ambulance Service receive record number of 999 calls in past year

South East Coast Ambulance Service

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has thanked its staff and volunteers for their hard work and commitment after a record number of 999 calls in the past 12 months.

Over that period SECAmb has experienced huge challenges, including the 999 call demand, and is asking the public for its continued support as it expects a challenging and busy start to the new year.

Between 8pm on New Year’s Eve and 3am on New Year’s Day, SECAmb answered 985 calls to 999 – a slight increase on 2019 and more than a 20% increase on the same period last year.

People are urged to make use of alternatives to calling 999 if they are not facing a serious or life-threatening emergency. These include calling 111 or visiting NHS 111 online at for urgent health advice or if unsure of where they should seek help.

SECAmb says people should also continue to take regular lateral flow device home tests, isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and, if they haven’t already, arrange to have a covid booster or vaccine.

SECAmb Chief Executive Officer, Philip Astle, said: “The past 12 months have been extremely challenging for everyone at SECAmb and I would like to thank each and every member of staff for their dedication in serving the public.

“I would also like to pay tribute to our volunteers, whose support throughout the last year has been immense. My thanks also go to our colleagues across the NHS and to those in our partner organisations for their continued teamwork and assistance.

“I ask the public for their continued support and urge them to make the right choices over the winter weeks during which we expect to remain busy. I know our teams will, as ever, rise to the challenge, but people can play their part by making use of the alternatives to 999, including NHS 111 for urgent health advice or speaking to a GP or pharmacist. By making the right choices, people can reduce pressure on 999 and the wider NHS. I wish everyone a happy and safe New Year and hope for a brighter 2022.”


  1. Good luck to those who want to speak to a GP, and as for 111, I phoned them months ago and was told they’d get back to me later that day, but they never did. So it is hardly surprising that more and more are resorting to 999. Meanwhile, there are far more nurses than are now needed at the vaccination hub, with many standing about looking bored.

    • So, after you’d waited all day, what happened next? Did you just pull a blanket over your head and hope it would go away? Did you phone again? Visit your local pharmacy? Use the NHS online facility?
      Dial 999 and demand an ambulance?

      • I initially looked up my symptoms on the NHS site, where it told me to immediately seek medical advice. First I tried my GP surgery but couldn’t even get a phone appoinment, so I then tried 111. Without going into details though, I wasn’t in too much discomfort, and fortunately my health complaint got better after a day or two.

      • There lies the problem Phyllis-as you well know many & especially the elderly don’t want to ‘make a fuss’ & so will just leave it. So if 111 fails them-which it usually does then they just sit there.

    • Yes, they are pretty much useless-if they do get a doctor to call you back it is rare. Then normally there is some 111 night shifter who seems to fail to comprehend that ringing people back at 2 or 3 in the morning to see if the problem ever got resolved unsolicited isn’t a good idea.

      Of course-because everything is still being thrown at Covid-despite the new strain of 70% less people having to go into hospital being dominant. Amazing the hospitals can never find enough staff-yet they never fail to find them to stick needles in people’s arms.

  2. It’s a shame we can’t protect them in 2022. March on Boris with your protecting the economy over lives. Just get a jab and that will solve everything.

    • No, he is protecting lives too. More needless restrictions won’t do anyone’s health any good. It is time we learnt to live with Covid, just like we do with every other seasonal illness.

      • But it’s not a “seasonal illness”. It’s a highly infectious lethal pandemic. Lincolnshire Hospital Trust has just declared a critical emergency, because there are so many staff off sick that they cannot safely care for their patients.
        If the country adopts the approach suggested by you (and Craig Mackinlay and others) then the country will see more of the same. Your problems phoning 111 will pale into insignificance in comparison to what might happen if we just “learn to live” with the virus.
        “Learn to die” more like.

        • It is seasonal, in that most people get it during the winter. That is why there was no big crisis when Boris almost entirely dropped restrictions in the summer, nor was there the summer before during “eat out to help out”, BLM and packed UK beaches.

    • You must be kidding-the economy is dying thanks to the measures implemented. Hospitality is on its last legs thanks to broken promises & irrationality.

      Will be interesting to see just how more mass jabbings of the fit, lockdowns & restrictions will be implemented with the mild strain now becoming dominant-deaths falling, hospitalisations will be going down by 70%. But judging by people like yourself-you will be offering up your arm & throwing away your basic freedoms to eternity for what is effectively a cold or winter bug for pretty much everybody who gets it.

      • I will certainly be getting vaccinated against any new variants, unless they really are the equivalent of a mild cold. I don’t feel that my basic freedoms have been taken away from me at all.

  3. I must complement the Ambulance and Staff, I recently had the use of there top rate service, I could not fault the 2 Paramedics, that came to assist me, after my Wife had tried to use 111.

    • Oh yes, I’m certainly not putting down the actual staff (I wouldn’t be here writing this if it weren’t for their life-saving actions in 2018, something I’m grateful for every single day).

  4. My goodness there is some nonsense gets put in the comments.
    The fact is that the response to the pandemic by the Westminster government has been appalling, it has increased the death toll and left the door open for the virus to spread and mutate. The governments priority should have been the health of the population, especially those who are more vulnerable. Instead it prioritised handing out contracts to family, friends and party donors. When Johnson as Prime Minister was making sure his mates would profit he should have been locking down, when instead of partying his staff should have maximised compliance with the measures but they could not do that because they saw the measures as only applying to the voters not the government, we saw this with Cummings and his trip to Barnard Castle, and we now know that while we isolated the government partied.
    We knew that a pandemic was likely, the 2015 Cygnus report warned where the gaps were, and what needed to be done to prepare, Johnson was a government minister back in 2015, he knew, but chose to ignore the reports findings. Instead he continued with plans to marketise and privatise the NHS, leaving it in the weakest position possible to take on the challenges ahead. He still hasn’t changed course and as a result the UK has one of the worst death tolls in the world from COVID19. Yet Johnson’s priority is not working to get everyone to comply with mask orders and the like, lets face it, he struggles to convince his own MP’s. No his priority is that his pals profit from the vaccine and to hell with the public and the taxpayers.
    I am flabbergasted with the stupidity of those who say that restrictions don’t work or that we should learn to live with COVID. But it is of no surprise that it is the very same people who insist Johnson as doing a “good job”, when Vietnam a nation of 97 million people has a much lower death toll than the UK with merely 67 million people with infinitely more wealth, the difference is the idiot Johnson in power, who has led the most corrupt government Britain has ever seen, when it needed the wisest government.
    My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones simply because Johnson and his government prioritised there own corruption when we needed a government for the people.

    • Vietnam, very little if any obese people and generally much younger and healthier.
      UK currently ranks 30th in the world in terms of deaths per million.
      Loads of people ignored covid rules not just tories, Rosie Duffield did so with her married lover, so knowingly put another family at risk.
      No such thing as an honest politician , they all do whatever they think is needed to pursue their agendas and dishonesty o achieve them is just part of the game as far they’re concerned.
      Whichever clowns had the keys to number 10 would have had to deal with covid , we just currently have the ones with blue noses.

    • Well said John! This is worth repeating, the TDC website posts the weekly amount of Covid cases, and last week there were 1.693 in Thanet alone! Last November 25th there were only 578, so its obvious cases are spiralling up weekly, with a corresponding amount of people having to be treated in hospital! Only morons still won’t get vaccinated, instead a third of them who have the virus, and are asymptomatic continue to spread it, Duurh.

  5. LC, The reason there are “ clowns in No10” is because we you and me vote for them. Obviously most of us do not know before hand how honest or deceitful they will be once in office.

    • We’ve had a couple of opportunities to vote them out. At the last election, despite the warning signs, we voted them in with a hugely increased majority.

      • Given the alternative are you surprised? Corbyn had even less appeal to the electorate as a whole, than Theresa May ( a task that should have been nigh on impossible but labour rose to the challenge)so it was a bit of an open goal for Boris. Plus Labour had gone so far to the left it had fallen off the edge, they need to realise that the vast majority of people want a government that provides a safety net for those in dire need, but otherwise interferes as little as possible in their lives , lets them earn a living to support their families ( much prefering to decide how to spend their income themselves rather than have the state confiscate it and waste it) and protects them from the basic ( not the whimsical imaginary dangers) wrongs of the world.
        Currently they have Kier as the figurehead, outwardly appearing to be well away from Corbyn’s vision of what Labour should be, but the electorate just see him as a diversion tactic to take the spotlight away from those operating the levers within labour, whom most see as unchanged from Corbyn’s days.

    • No we do, few of us truly trust our politicans no matter what colour rosette they sport. Our politics relies on tribal voting, voting for the least worst option and voting out rather than voting in governments. None of which are particularly good ways of running a country. But as a result of a diheartened electorate used to seemingly endless lies and misdirection its where we are.
      You only need to listen to the exchanges in parliament, endless sniping and digs over relatively ridiculous matters. Cummins breaking the covid rules, everyone in his family knew what was going on and no one else was put at risk, remember the efforts to try and prove he’d stopped for fuel in order to show he’d put non family at risk?
      The labour supporters go on endlessly about it, but they had Keith Vaz as the justice secretary , a man reportedly who’d sniffed coke off of rent boys behinds, yet he was allowed to avoid enquiries into his behaviour for that and other matters for years until he stood down , to be replaced by an mp who ended up in court for threats over a love triangle.
      Rees Mogg who was once forever in the frontline and a rising tory star, suddenly left the limelight, possibly over claims since that he’d taken a dubious 6 million loan, which since has been dismissed , but only once it could do the party no harm.
      Though you do have the devil that walks amongst us Blair , who singlehandedly dragged the concept of honest politics into the gutter with Iraq and his fawning towards america,
      Devious or just human take your pick.
      Yep we know but are just not surprised, when the next bit of bad news appears. How else did Boris ever get to be PM. Obviously this does all possibly reflect the attitiudes of the nation at large which as we all know is less honest and socially minded than it used to be.

    • Well yes, but what choice did people have? It was either Boris or Corbyn. It is like having to choose between Stalin & Hitler.

  6. How many calls were caused by Northdown Surgery I wonder?

    Do they still have doctors working there or is a hub for Nurses?

    I recently attempted on four occasions to get an appointment for an issue – couldn’t get one (as usual) So I went to A&E and was seen by a doctor in just over 90 minutes. I no longer call Northdown Surgery, I go to A&E at 3am on a Tuesday morning and always get seen quickly – potentially quicker than the surgery and waiting on hold.

    • GP’s get paid their wages to work from home or the surgery without seeing anybody in person. On top of that they get paid a minimum of £15 for every Covid jab they administer. Why on earth would they want to see people in person again with such a cushy gig?

      Look at Wales-it is now a criminal offence to go to work, but they encourage them to go to the pub. You have to wear masks in church while seated, but can then take them off to stand & sing-ejecting saliva everywhere-another nonsensical rule people just accept. Parts of Canada are enforcing a street curfew so everybody is under house arrest from 10PM-5AM-with hordes of cops in vehicles broadcasting the message to those on the streets in both French & English-one might be mistaken for thinking Canada in 2022 is actually Stasi controlled East Germany in 1982, but you have no rights any longer-jabbed or not jabbed. We are in clown world.

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