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 111.nhs.uk 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.”