Ambulance staff face busiest Christmas

AMBULANCE officials today appealed for people to think twice before calling for an ambulance over the busy festive period.The East Anglian Ambulance Trust is expecting the Christmas and New Year period to be extremely busy and will be laying on extra shifts to handle the additional workload.

AMBULANCE officials today appealed for people to think twice before calling for an ambulance over the busy festive period.

The East Anglian Ambulance Trust is expecting the Christmas and New Year period to be extremely busy and will be laying on extra shifts to handle the additional workload.

But the trust has appealed for only those who have a genuine need for an ambulance to call for one.

Matthew Ware, spokesman for the trust, said: “999 calls are still going up ten per cent a year. October was the busiest ever.


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“Christmas and New Year is likely to be the busiest Christmas and New Year ever - we are likely to be between 5 to 10pc busier.

“We would ask people to try and use other forms of healthcare.”

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Mr Ware said the ambulance service had £95,000 for extra provision over the festive period, both from the ambulance service itself and for assistance from voluntary societies such as St John Ambulance and the Red Cross.

He said: “We are putting on extra shifts over the Christmas and New Year period. This is the first year we have had a structured plan, so we are putting on shifts when we know they are going to be needed.

“We will be using St John for less total time than previous years but they will be on at known peak times such as Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.”

There were 13 vehicles across Suffolk on New Year's Eve last year and there will be the same number this year. Last Christmas Eve there were ten vehicles on the roads and there will be at least the same number this year.

Mr Ware said: “I think we will be able to cope as well as we have ever been able to cope, but bearing in mind that ambulance calls are going up significantly, we do expect there to be peak times when there will be incredibly high demand.”

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