Busiest-ever January on record for 999 calls at East of England Ambulance Service Trust
PUBLISHED: 18:48 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 18:52 04 February 2016
The region's ambulance service experienced its busiest-ever January on record last month.
A total of 84,825 emergency calls were made to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST last month – an increase of 12% from 75,495 last year, the service has announced.
In Suffolk, there was a 9% rise, increasing from 9,354 to 10,223 over the last month. In Essex, the figure rose from 24,523 to 26,642.
The EEAST said that despite the “large increase in demand”, the service “reached more patients with potentially life threatening conditions in eight minutes”.
Despite requests, the EEAST was unable to provide eight-minute performance results for Suffolk and Essex last month.
Robert Morton, chief executive of the EEAST, said: “We are making real improvements for patients and staff – it might not be reflected in the headline performance figures due to the steep rises in demand and other issues affecting our capacity to respond, but we are on the right track.
“We are changing things to give a more tailored and appropriate response and this is being seen in the fact that the number of patients we have taken to hospital has not gone up as much as demand has.”
The EEAST also renewed an appeal asking people to “think carefully” before phoning 999 in a bid to ease pressures on the service.
Gary Morgan, head of emergency operation centres at the EEAST, said: “If you or the person you are with are not in life-threatening danger, help us to respond to those patients who are by using the right service for your needs such as seeing your GP or an out of hours GP, visiting a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit, visiting your pharmacy or calling 111.
“Choosing wiser will help free up some of our capacity to respond to really sick or injured patients more quickly.”