Christmas ambulance call hike sees more than 7,000 people dialling 999 in east of England


It was another busy Christmas for the region’s ambulance service, who took more than 2,700 999 calls on Christmas Day.

The figure, released by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, represents a hike of 300 calls compared to an average day and was a rise of 40 on last year’s Christmas Day total.

From Herts alone, 467 emergency calls were made on Christmas Day. This was the second highest total in the region after Essex, with 874 calls.

However, there were around 360 fewer calls over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day compared to the same three-day period last year.

The service took a total of 7,813 calls between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Across the east, 1,241 patients were taken to hospital on Christmas Day.

Calls included problems with chest pains and choking, as well as assaults and births. Only around 30 per cent of patients attended to were in a life-threatened condition.

Acting director of service delivery at the Trust Rob Ashford said: “Whilst it’s encouraging we’ve seen a slight decrease in the number of calls compared to the same period last year, we’re still seeing an increase each Christmas Day.

“Our staff are working as hard as ever over the period and I’m proud of all those who have been carrying out lifesaving work for the Trust over the past few days. From our call handlers, to the crews out on the roads, and everyone else - I’d like to say a huge thank you to them all.

“We will continue to be under pressure over the weekend and into next week, with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day typically being our busiest days of the year. So we’re urging members of the public to familiarise themselves with the winter health advice on our website, and to think twice before calling 999 about other options that may be available. 111 is a very useful resource in case you’re unsure about what to do and want to know what health services are available to you over the break.”