AMBULANCE bosses have praised staff and volunteers for helping thousands of 999 callers and patients this Christmas – and urge the public to stay well in the coming days.
Between 7pm on Christmas Eve to 11pm on Boxing Day, control rooms at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received 6,017 calls.
This is compared to 6,155 in 2014/15 and 5,468 in 2013/14.
Chief Executive Robert Morton thanked patient-facing members of the service for dealing with what he described as “a busy time in an already challenging winter”.
“We know that when someone calls 999, it can be a traumatic time for them; during Christmas it can be particularly hard because it should be a time of celebration and enjoyment,” he said. “Our staff and volunteers worked extremely hard to help respond to every call in the most appropriate way possible, and we hope everyone we treated is recovering well enough to be able to enjoy what’s left of the festivities.”
The service faces its traditionally busiest day of the year on 1st January, and followers of @EastEnglandAmb on Twitter will be able to follow a live Twitterthon with an ambulance crew on the day. Last year, control rooms dealt with 3,376 calls.
Meanwhile, Robert urged the public to help reverse the trend of a high call demand on the days ahead, where calls rise and then peak on New Year’s Day: “This week will mean more demand on our service as people recover from the weekend’s break and unfortunately may have worsening conditions, and so please help us spread the vital health messages with friends and family. By taking some simple steps with your health, wellbeing and safety, the chances of you needing any emergency care are greatly reduced and you can get on with enjoying the best of the season.
"Would you want a member of your family to have to wait for an ambulance because we are already responding to someone whom has really overdone it? Would you want a loved one who is working for the ambulance service to be threatened or assaulted while responding to an alcohol related 999 calls?”
For more information, advice and directions to help about staying well, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk, on Facebook and on Twitter using #winterwise.
The NHS ‘Stay well this winter’ campaign can be accessed by visiting www.nhs.uk/staywell.
The breakdown of calls and responses for the region were as follows (last year’s figures in brackets):
Bedfordshire: 578 (591)
Cambridgeshire: 804 (802)
Essex: 1,901 (1,978)
Hertfordshire: 950 (1,042)
Norfolk: 974 (956)
Suffolk: 810 (786)