'˜Extremely busy' Christmas and New Year for ambulance service

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has thanked its staff and volunteers for their efforts during what was an '˜extremely busy' Christmas and New Year.

In the six hours between 10pm on New Year’s Eve and 4am on January 1 the Trust handled approximately 1,200 calls and some 3,400 calls throughout the whole of December 31.

Control room staff worked hard to arrange help for callers, prioritising patients in the most need, while ambulance crews out on the road worked flat out to reach patients as quickly as possible.

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Crews attended more than 600 incidents across Kent, Surrey and Sussex between 10pm and 4am and close to 2,300 incidents throughout the whole of New Year’s Eve – up approximately 300 on last year.

The Trust’s NHS 111 centre staff also had an extremely busy end to the year with the service in high demand during the long weekends over Christmas and New Year.

The Trust has thanked everyone for the messages of support it has received over the festive period including support of its #XmasSupportSECAmb Twitter campaign.

SECAmb has also praised the efforts and commitment of its volunteers including its Community First Responders, chaplains, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.

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SECAmb’s acting chief executive Geraint Davies said: “All our staff and our volunteers work hard all year round but I’m always particularly impressed by the dedication and professionalism they show at this time of year.

“We know it can also be hard on their families and loved ones too so we’re very grateful of the support they provide.

“As expected the whole period and last New Year’s Eve was very busy.

“Everyone rose to the challenge to respond to those in most need as quickly and safely as possible.

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“I would like to thank the public for their continued support and wish everyone and happy and safe 2017.”

SECAmb continues to be extremely busy and is urging people to remember to only dial 999 in the event of a serious emergency.

If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following you must dial 999 for an ambulance:

- Heart attack (eg chest pain for more than 15 minutes)

- Sudden unexplained shortness of breath

- Heavy bleeding

- Unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained consciousness)

- Traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance if:

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- You think the patient’s illness or injury is life-threatening

- You think the illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the way to the hospital

- Moving the patient(s) without skilled people could cause further injury

- The patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance service and its personnel

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