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Chief Paramedic urges Londoners to stay safe this weekend as calls to 999 soar

Londoners are being encouraged to look after themselves and their loved ones this weekend as calls to 999 have risen by nearly 30%. 

Yesterday (7 December), London Ambulance Service received 6,529 999 calls, which is a 28% increase over the daily average of 5,111 calls in 2023.

Call volumes have exceeded 6,000 all week, with similar levels of pressure seen in winter 2020.

The spike in call numbers comes as the Service faces the combined impact of cold weather, high rates of viral infections, and a rise in alcohol-related incidents pre-Christmas.

As a result of this increase in demand, the Trust has moved to the highest level of escalation (REAP 4).

Dr John Martin, Chief Paramedic at London Ambulance Service, said:

“Since December started, we have got busier and busier.

“This weekend, it’s really important that people help us reach our sickest and most seriously-injured patients by looking after yourself and your families. I would urge Londoners to stay warm, take your medications, and seek medical help if you need it, without ignoring your symptoms. NHS 111 online is always a good place to start.

“As Londoners enjoy pre-Christmas celebrations across the capital, we are seeing more alcohol-related incidents, which could be avoided. We ask the public to drink responsibly and plan their journeys back at night so they can get home safely.

“We know infections are also on the rise nationally, so we encourage those who are eligible to have their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.”

LAS has prepared for winter ahead of time, with additional ambulances and response vehicles ready to hit the roads of London as well as extra control room staff on duty across the city. The Service has also boosted the number of clinicians who can assess 999 patients to ensure they get the help they need.

Earlier this month, London Ambulance Service partnered with Transport for London (TfL) to encourage Londoners to take extra care when travelling and help reduce avoidable trips to hospital.

At the start of December, London Ambulance Service emergency staff recorded safety announcements which are being broadcast across all Transport for London (TfL) tube and train stations. The messages remind people to dress for the weather, eat before drinking alcohol, and plan their journeys so they can get home safely.


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