Busy Times For South Coast Ambulance Crews

Ambulance crews on the South Coast are asking people not to ring them unless it's a real emergency, as they head into their busiest time of the year.

Between Saturday 26 November and Saturday 17 December 2011 South Central Ambulance Service received 35,389 emergency calls.

The last Saturday before Christmas is traditionally their busiest night. On Saturday 17 December 2011 they dealt with 1,441 calls. That's 22% more calls than on an average Saturday in 2011.

South Central Ambulance Service provides emergency care for a population of over four million people, across Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.

Each incident they attend costs an average of £247, now they're asking the people to only call them in a genuine medical emergency.

North Hampshire area manager Paul Jeffries says: ''Think about it..if you've had too much to drink and you've twisted your ankle is there another way you could get yourself to an appropriate treatment centre?''

He also says they have to deal with a lot of people being abusive because they've had too much to drink: ''Unfortunately when alcohol's involved people can be quite inappropriate towards ambulance staff and use language that we wouldn't usually expect and swear at them. That's quite upsetting for ambulance staff and it's not really what we're there for.''