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Ambulance crews in London deal with their busiest night of the year

This New Year’s Eve the London Ambulance Service has dealt with highest number of emergency 999 calls since the Millennium. Between midnight and 4am the Service dealt with 1,562 calls, up 8 per cent on the same period last year.

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. At London ’s celebration hotspots such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Leicester Square and the banks of the Thames, the Service has been working with members of St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross. Together they treated 148 patients for minor injuries at temporary treatment centres and took a further 45 patients to hospital.

The Service had expected a high number of alcohol-related incidents and operated an alternative response vehicle to deal with these types of call, treating patients for minor injuries and those who are simply drunk, hence freeing up regular ambulances to deal with more life-threatening incidents. This year, for the first time, the Service also set up a treatment centre at Guy’s Hospital Minor-Injuries Unit which dealt with a variety of injuries and illnesses, and helped reduce the burden of the extra demand.

Assistant Director of Operations Ian Todd, who has led the Service’s response on New Year’s Eve said: “The majority of calls we have responded to this evening have been alcohol-related, but each year we anticipate this and have allocated extra resources, such as the alternative response vehicle and the treatment centre at Guy’s Hospital Minor-Injuries Unit. We have also worked together with St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross to ensure that people celebrating in the centre of London have been receiving the most appropriate medical care as quickly as possible.

“Our Emergency Operations Centre staff have worked tirelessly this evening answering emergency calls from the public. At the busiest point of the evening our staff were taking over 450 calls an hour – almost 4 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 have worked extremely hard to care for patients and to cope with the exceptionally high demand.”

– Ends –

New Year’s Eve facts and figures

  • Between 00:00 to 04:00 on New Year’s Day 2007, the London Ambulance Service saw an 8 per cent increase in the number of emergency 999 calls it received compared to 2006.
  • The Service’s Emergency Operations Centre usually takes an average of 120 calls an hour. This evening’s breakdown of calls per hour was as follows:
Breakdown of calls by hour taken by LAS emergency operations centre, New Year’s Eve 2006
New Year’s Day 2007

Hour

Number of calls
received by the
LAS Emergency Operations Centre
00:00 – 01:00 307
01:00 – 02:00 380
02:00 – 03:00 471
03:00 – 04:00 404
Total number of calls 00:00 – 04:00 1,562

Notes to editors

The London Ambulance Service is the largest free ambulance service in the world, caring for more than a million patients every year. It is the only London-wide NHS Trust, serving approximately 620 square miles, from Heathrow in the west to Upminster in the east, and Enfield in the north to Purley in the south.

For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7921 5113.