London Ambulance Service sees increase in 999 calls following England clash

Following England’s opening World Cup game against the USA, calls to the London Ambulance Service peaked at 37 per cent above normal in the hours after the game.

Between 1am and 2am in the early hours of Sunday morning, staff in the Service’s control room took 287 emergency calls – compared to an average of 210 for the same one-hour period.

Attention is now being turned to England’s next match, the potential make-or-break game on Friday with Algeria.

Deputy Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “We were expecting a rise in emergency calls following England’s opening game at the weekend, and from 11pm on Saturday night until 5am on Sunday morning, call rates were well above what we’d usually expect.

“We’re now focussing on Friday’s game which we expect to be much busier in terms off 999 calls – mainly because a lot of people will be heading to the pub to watch the game straight from work. And while I’d urge everyone to enjoy the match, people should be sensible. Eat before drinking, remember to take on plenty of water and soft drinks and don’t overdo it.

“We need to make sure that our staff are free to respond to patients who really need our help. Every minute we spend looking after someone who’s had too much to drink is a minute that could have been spent helping someone with a serious or life-threatening injury or illness, the people who really need our help.”

Anyone with a more minor illness or injury – or who wakes up after a big game a little worse for wear – is being asked to consider other healthcare options including:

  • Your local pharmacist or NHS walk-in centre
  • NHS Direct on 0845 46 47
  • Or you can make your own way to hospital – going in an ambulance does not mean you will get seen any quicker.

To help deal with the increase in demand during the World Cup, the Service has a number of initiatives in place including:

  • Extra staff on duty, both on ambulances and in our Waterloo control room
  • Up to four alternative response vehicles – known as ‘booze buses’ – operating in central London. The vehicles are crewed by three members of staff and can attend people who are drunk and take a group of patients to hospital in one trip, rather than sending multiple ambulances
  • A team of ambulance staff based at Liverpool Street station working with St John Ambulance volunteers during England’s midweek games to treat patients with minor illnesses and injuries, with vehicles from both organisations assigned to deal with alcohol-related emergency calls in the City.

– Ends –

Notes for editors

Emergency call figures and percentage difference from 9pm on Saturday 12 June, until 5am on Sunday 13 June.

Hour

Calls

999 calls

Avg 999 calls

% diff

21

247

246

1%

22

228

225

1%

23

305

236

30%

0

245

223

10%

1

287

210

37%

2

240

213

13%

3

216

179

21%

4

121

111

9%

For more information, please contact the London Ambulance Service communications department on 020 7921 5113.

For more information about how we are dealing with alcohol-related calls please visit www.londonambulance.nhs.uk/alcohol

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