Ambulance service's busy Christmas

HEALTH services in Suffolk had one of their busiest Christmases on record with an unusually high number of seriously ill people needing treatment, it was revealed today.

HEALTH services in Suffolk had one of their busiest Christmases on record with an unusually high number of seriously ill people needing treatment, it was revealed today.

The East of England Ambulance Service had its tenth busiest day of the year on Christmas Day, and the number of calls to life-threatening conditions was the second highest of any day on record.

A spokeswoman for the service said: “There were 620 emergency responses across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, which is a seven per cent increase on the same day last year.”

Jason Gillingham, clinical field operations manager at Ipswich ambulance station, said Christmas Day was “exceptionally busy” and there were large numbers of people suffering heart problems.


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He said: “We see it every Christmas and I think it has a lot to do with a change in people's lifestyles for those few days.

“They eat excessively and drink excessively and put their bodies through a lot more stresses and strains than usual.”

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Ipswich Hospital also reported a busy few days over the festive period.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “The accident and emergency department was much busier than usual but there was no single reason for it.

“We saw people with a multitude of different conditions.”

Despite the busy time, the hospital did not suffer from a shortage of beds and was not put on alert at any time.

Ms Rowsell said the increase of people coming in on Christmas Day could not be linked to people being discharged before they were ready.

She said: “We do a very careful risk assessment with everybody before they are allowed home, to make sure they are well enough to be there, and to ensure that there is the correct support in place, but people's conditions can obviously change very rapidly and unexpectedly sometimes.”

Elsewhere, a temporary medical centre which had been set up by St John's Ambulance helped 11 people with minor medical problems on Friday night.

The mobile unit, in Ipswich's Cardinal Park, will be out again on New Year's Eve.

Did you have problems accessing health care over the Christmas period? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINKS:

www.sja.org.uk

www.eastanglianambulance.com

JASON Gillingham, clinical field operations manager at Ipswich ambulance station, is preparing for the busiest weekend of the year as people celebrate the New Year.

He said: “For most people Christmas and New Year are a time for relaxing but for our crews it is the time when they really come under pressure.

“We don't want to be killjoys and spoil anyone's nights out but we would really urge people to drink in moderation.

“We'd also want to encourage people to make sure they have any medication they might need over the festive period to hand, and make sure repeat prescriptions are done in time.”

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