5 February 2012
The number of emergency calls to the London Ambulance
Service rose sharply this morning following the snowfall across the
capital – and could do so again tomorrow when roads and pavements
are expected to be very icy.
Between midnight and noon today, staff in the
control room handled over 2,500 emergency calls, an increase of
more than 26 per cent on the same period last Sunday.
The hours between midnight and 4am were
particularly busy, and with temperatures staying very low,
Londoners are being urged to take care when out and about both
today and tomorrow morning.
Snow and ice can lead to an increase in slips, trips and falls on
slippery pavements, while the cold can also make existing
conditions such as asthma worse.
Anyone who might need medical help but are not
in a life-threatening emergency situation should as usual consider
other options before dialling 999.
Performance Manager Paul Gates said: “We saw
the usual range of late Saturday night incidents, such as those
related to alcohol, but the call rate then stayed very high into
the early hours.
“Our staff have been working very hard to
manage this demand, and we will know that they will continue to do
so throughout the rest of the day.
“As ever, we are prioritising to respond to
those patients with the most serious illnesses and injuries, and
we’d urge people only to call 999 in a genuine emergency – that
will help us to get to those who really need our help as quickly as
“For more minor injuries and illnesses, people
should think about other healthcare options, such as calling NHS
Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice, or visiting a minor injuries unit
or walk-in centre.
“Anyone who thinks that they need to go
hospital for non-emergency treatment should also consider making
their own way there – going in an ambulance does not mean that they
will be seen any quicker.”
- Ends -
Notes to editors: