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Ambulance chief urges people to ‘get winter wise’ after high new year demand

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 January 2016

Robert Morton

Robert Morton

Archant

Ambulance bosses are urging people to be “winter wise” – after demand on the 999 ambulance service peaked on New Year’s Day.

Call handlers dealt with 3,345 calls in control rooms at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) on January 1 – and they took 956 calls alone between midnight and 5am.

In 2015, the figure for New Year’s Day was marginally higher at 3,376 and this was the busiest day of last year. In Suffolk, there were 421 calls on New Year’s Day – which is down from 451 last year.

Chief executive Robert Morton praised staff and volunteers for helping the thousands of patients.

He said: “We are at our busiest at the end of December into the new year every winter and this past week or so was no exception. Not only is it the increased likelihood people have accidents and illnesses because they’re out and about more and enjoying the celebrations, it’s also about management of long-term health conditions, people’s normal access to care routines suspended, and other factors more unique to this time of year.

“As we look to the rest of winter now, we want those more at risk to ensure they’ve had their flu jab, that people are well prepared for adverse weather, and that communities pull together to ensure the health and safety of one another doesn’t drop down the list of priorities.”

■ 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.


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