Hottest day sees surge in ambulance demand

Londoners are being urged to take extra care as the warm weather continues this week.

On Saturday and Sunday the London Ambulance Service took a total of 9,133 emergency calls compared to 7,535 last weekend – an increase of more than 20 per cent.

The busiest hours came on Sunday after England were knocked out of the World Cup, when 999 calls peaked at more than 300 an hour – or as much as 67 per cent above average – as football fans drowned their sorrows in the sunshine.

With the good weather set to continue for the next few days, the Service is reminding Londoners to only call for an ambulance in a genuine emergency.

Deputy Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “In these high temperatures I would urge Londoners to take care in the sun.

“Drinking plenty of water and avoiding the sun at the hottest time of the day are both simple measures to avoid becoming a casualty of the sunshine.

“In particular, anyone with asthma or bronchitis should ensure they carry their medication with them, and those with allergies such as hayfever should take with them an anti-histamine.

“We will continue to prioritise our response to those patients who are seriously ill or injured this week. Therefore, anyone with minor conditions should consider other healthcare options, such as calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visiting a minor injuries unit, NHS walk-in centre or local pharmacist. If they need to go to hospital for non-emergency treatment, they should use a taxi or get a lift from a friend or relative.”

Londoners should also think about how they can care for themselves in the sun:

  • Some people are more at risk from the heat than others – for example, older people, babies and young children, and people with any pre-existing medical problems that can affect their breathing
  • Try to keep as cool as possible – wear a hat when sitting or working outside and use plenty of suncream
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves
  • Patients with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis should carry their prescribed reliever medication and those with hayfever should carry an anti-histamine
  • People with serious health problems (for example heart conditions), should avoid going out in the heat, especially between 11am and 3pm
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol in the sun
  • Contact your doctor, pharmacist or NHS Direct (0845 46 47 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk) if you are worried about your health. In an emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance.

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