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3 January 2013, 06:00
The East of England's ambulance service say they responded to nearly 2,000 calls during the new year celebrations – double the number of an average night.
A total of 1,970 calls were dealt with over the 12 hours from 7pm on December 31 to 7am on January 1 – an average of more than 164 an hour.
Although the numbers were marginally down on the previous year when EEAST received 1,989 calls within the same period they are more than double the number of incidents on the Monday and Tuesday four weeks previously.
Then control room and frontline staff responded to 893 calls. And, even compared to the first Saturday in December, when there were 1,087 incidents, there was a significant rise in new year demand.
Director for Emergency Operations Neil Storey said: "My thanks and praise go out to all our staff and volunteers who worked during this difficult shift. While a downward trend, however slight, is good news and a sign that perhaps people are taking note of our advice, it's still a very busy start to the year.
"For those calling 999 with a genuine medical problem but which isn't an emergency we would ask them to take note of our Right Call message which explains how calls are prioritised, like they are in A&E departments, to ensure the patients in most need get help first.
“Those not in life threatening situations should expect to wait longer for an ambulance response - which in some minor cases may be telephone advice - depending on their need as assessed using a comprehensive system by our highly trained clinical call handlers.
“We have dedicated clinical support desks in the control rooms to support patients with minor conditions as appropriately as possible without the need to send an ambulance.”