Emergency calls double as Londoners see in 2016

1 January 2016

London Ambulance Service took over 500 emergency calls an hour at peak times – double the number of calls it normally receives – as Londoners welcomed in the new year.

However there were fewer patients treated in the central London event area compared to last year. In total 146 people were cared for in the St John Ambulance treatment centres and 55 patients were taken to hospital. Last year 200 people needed medical attention and 66 were taken to hospital.

Assistant Director of Operations, Pauline Cranmer, who led the Service’s response, said: “It has been an incredibly busy night for us and we have treated a lot of seriously ill and injured patients. Many had too much to drink and had other injuries as a result.”

During the busiest hour, 2am to 3am, call takers answered 512 emergency calls compared to 469 last year. During an average hour the Service would normally only take around 250 emergency calls an hour.

Between midnight and 5am, ambulance crews attended 485 Category A patients – the most seriously ill and injured people. This compared to 568 last year.

To help manage the increased demand, the Service worked with St John Ambulance to run nine treatment centres. It also had two ‘booze buses’ operating in central London with paramedics responding to alcohol related calls.

Most of the patients in the treatment centres had alcohol-related illnesses or injuries. Many were helped to sober up and treated for minor injuries before being discharged.

In the congested central London area medics worked on foot in teams of three with St John Ambulance volunteers, carrying full medical equipment with them.

Pauline added: “Every year we work closely with St John Ambulance at temporary treatment centres to ensure people out celebrating in central London receive the most appropriate medical care as quickly as possible. By caring for people in treatment centres we can avoid taking them to busy A&E departments."

New Year’s Day is also expected to be busy for the Service. Pauline said: “Many Londoners will be waking up feeling unwell after a heavy night. We would encourage them to consider using other healthcare services such as walk-in centres or calling NHS 111 for health advice to ensure our medics are free and able to respond to the patients in serious and life-threatening conditions.”

New Year's figures

The Service’s control room usually takes an average of 250 calls an hour. The breakdown of calls per hour was as follows:

New Year’s Day


No of calls received
New Year’s Day 2016

No of calls received
New Year’s Day 2015

00.00 – 01.00



01.00 – 02.00



02.00 – 03.00



03.00 – 04.00



04.00 - 05.00




Notes to editors:

For more information about this news release please contact the communications team on 020 7783 2286.

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