The emergency services are urging people to think twice about calling 999 and to take extra care over the Christmas period as calls rise.
At this busy time of year for paramedics, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust is reminding people that emergency calls are specifically designed for people with serious and critical illnesses – such as strokes and heart attacks – or those who need advanced medical treatment en route to hospital.
Last Christmas Day, the trust received 2,730 emergency 999 calls from across the region, but took less than half of those people to hospital. From Herts alone, 494 emergency calls were made.
Firefighters’ strikes taking place on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will also put pressure on the emergency services over the festive season, with Herts chief fire officer Roy Wilsher urging people to take extra precaution when driving and cooking, and to only call 999 in an emergency.
But the fire chief stresses all genuine emergency calls will be responded to by retained crews working through the walk-out.