Hectic New Year’s Eve for ambulance service

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As thousands across Yorkshire and the Humber welcomed in the New Year to the sound of fireworks and champagne corks popping, the region’s ambulance service was working exceptionally hard to care for patients needing emergency assistance.

This year Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust received 1,570 emergency calls over the 12-hour period from 6pm on 31 December 2014 to 6am on 1 January 2015 (897 of these (57%) were between midnight and 6am). The busiest time was in the early hours of the morning and between midnight and 3am there were 51 emergency calls to assaults.

New Year’s Day so far is slightly busier for the most serious type of calls (Red) than last year, with 6% more Red calls between midnight and 8am. Many of the calls received have been alcohol-related with large numbers of people celebrating the festivities.

New Year’s Eve is typically a time when ambulance staff are caught up dealing with people who have drunk excessively or have sustained alcohol-fuelled injuries and this year was no exception. Yorkshire Ambulance Service prepared for this increase in demand and placed community medical units in Leeds, Sheffield and Doncaster and had police and paramedic teams operating in busy town and city centres. Both initiatives helped to free up emergency ambulances for those who were more seriously ill or injured and diverted extra pressure away from hospital emergency departments.

Paul Mudd, Locality Director of A&E Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “As always New Year’s Eve was a busy time for us and we received a high volume of alcohol-related calls, particularly in the early hours of the morning.

“Our community medical units and police and paramedic teams provided valuable support and were able to treat people who had too much to drink or those who had sustained minor injuries without them needing to go to hospital.

“In the early hours of New Year’s Day we received a significant number of emergency calls to patients who had been assaulted while out celebrating the start of 2015. Clearly this is distressing for those directly involved, but it also places extra pressure on us and partner services.

“New Year’s Eve aside, demand for our service continues to increase. So our New Year’s message for 2015 is to remind members of the public to use the 999 service wisely, choose their healthcare options appropriately and help us to ensure our vital resources are available for those with a genuine life-threatening emergency.”