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999 calls soar as the temperature in the capital rises

7 July 2013

Hot weather 314x170Londoners are being urged to take care in the sun after the ambulance service experienced its busiest day of the year so far.

Staff in the control room answered 6,102 emergency calls yesterday (Saturday 6 July) compared to 4,592 two weekends ago (Saturday 22 June) before the hot weather started, an increase of 33 per cent.

Director of Service Delivery, Paul Woodrow said: “We always see a rise in 999 calls in hot weather; this is due to various reasons including people forgetting to keep hydrated and the heat making pre-existing conditions like asthma worse.

“I would urge all Londoners out enjoying the hot weather to stay safe by making sure you carry any medication with you at all times, keep cool by sitting in the shade, drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol in the sun.” 

Among the types of calls that we have seen an increase in are patients with breathing problems and chest pains. Staff have also treated more patients with alcohol-related injuries and illnesses.

Paul added: “We see an increase in calls for people with breathing difficulties in the heat, please help us to respond to the most seriously ill and injured by only calling 999 in a genuine emergency.

“Anyone with a minor condition should consider some of their other healthcare options.”

Top tips for keeping well in the heat:

  • The heat affects everyone, but the young and elderly are particularly at risk. Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves
  • Avoiding the sun at the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm Keeping as cool as possible – wear a hat when sitting or working outside and use plenty of sun cream.
  • Carrying prescribed medicines for chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Drinking plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol in the sun
  • Consider other healthcare providers in the community such as your local pharmacy or walk in centre for less serious illnesses and injuries. In an emergency always dial 999 for an ambulance.


Notes for editors                                                                 

The Service received 6,102 emergency calls yesterday – an increase of 33.7 per cent from Saturday 22 June (4,592 calls).

The busiest hour yesterday saw staff in the control answer 369 emergency calls.

The busiest hour in terms of an increase from yesterday was between 10pm and 11pm when staff answered 45.8 per cent more emergency calls than the same hour on 22 June (369 calls compared to 253).

For more information please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286

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