The Service dealt with a record number of emergency 999 calls on New Year’s Eve taking over 1,400 calls between midnight and 4am—up four per cent on the same period last year.
Deputy Director of Operations Russell Smith, who led the Service’s response on New Year’s Eve said: “Emergency operations centre staff worked tirelessly to answer the huge number of calls from members of the public. At the busiest point of the evening, staff were taking over 400 calls an hour—more than three times what they would expect to deal with on a normal night. I would also like to express my thanks to all the ambulance crews who worked extremely hard to care for patients and to cope with this exceptionally high demand.”
At London’s celebration hotspots such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Leicester Square and the banks of the Thames, the Service was assisted by members of St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross. Together they treated 117 patients for minor injuries at temporary treatment centres and took a further 48 patients to hospital.
The Service had anticipated high demand on what is traditionally its busiest evening of the year and had increased numbers of frontline staff working across the capital. It was also expecting a high number of alcohol-related incidents and operated two Patient Transport Service vehicles which transported 30 people to hospital who were suffering the effects of an excessive night out. These vehicles have been trialled over the Christmas and New Year period as an alternative way of responding to minor alcohol-related incidents in order to free up emergency ambulances for patients in life-threatening situations.
New Year’s Eve also saw a high number of violent incidents. During the early hours of the morning, there were 38 calls reporting stabbings relating to 25 separate incidents across the capital.
Russell continued: “The majority of calls crews responded to on New Year’s Eve were alcohol-related. Unfortunately, when some people consume alcohol they become more aggressive and we saw a high number of violent incidents reported. We are horrified that there have been so many stabbings on what is an evening of celebration for most people.”
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