East Midlands Ambulance Service dealt with over 1,000 calls during the first six hours of 2018 as New Year celebrations reached their peak.
A huge amount of preparatory work took place to ensure frontline staff, support services and managers were geared up for the busiest day of the year, according to EMAS.
The ambulance service has revealed the below strategies and statistics outlining what an incredibly busy period its staff faced during what is notoriously the emergency service’s busiest time:
There were 1,027 calls received during the first six hours of 2018 and each of these calls was answered within two seconds;
Many calls related to illness or injury suffered as a result of too much alcohol;
Over 120 colleagues worked in EMAS’s two Emergency Operations Centres to receive and respond to the 999 calls received;
Over 145 ambulances and 50 fast response cars were manned by EMAS clinicians on duty to respond to emergency calls;
Over 25 managers and leaders worked to support crews, many of them working out on the frontline;
Support came from several Community First Responder schemes whose volunteers logged on to help their local community in an emergency;
A strategic command cell was set up throughout the night and early hours of the morning to manage demand;
On-duty and on-call managers were based at busy hospital emergency departments to support patient flow and to get ambulances back on to the road to respond to patients waiting in the community.
EMAS Chief Executive Richard Henderson said: “Frontline colleagues, volunteers and people working behind the scenes have worked incredibly hard to get an emergency ambulance response to people that really need it.
“It has been a challenging time but we’ve delivered the best possible service with the resources available to us.
“I send my personal thanks to colleagues, volunteers and partner agencies for their continued commitment and dedication to help us to provide quality patient care.”
Dr John Stephenson was the EMAS Associate Medical Director and Strategic Commander during New Year’s Eve and the early hours of New Year’s Day.
He said: “Traditionally New Year’s Day is our busiest of the year. We planned to have more frontline colleagues on duty, we set up temporary treatment centres in towns and cities across the East Midlands and we set up a strategic cell to help us manage the expected spike in demand.
“Together with the rest of the NHS we also urged the public to have fun but to stay safe as they celebrated.
“Despite our appeals too often our emergency ambulance clinicians spent their time caring for people who were unwell after excessively drinking alcohol, either at home or out on the town.
“The next few days will continue to be very busy for us and other emergency health services. People that start to feel unwell are urged to seek early advice from a pharmacist, walk-in or urgent care centre – where no appointment is needed, or by visiting their general practitioner. Please don’t leave it until you become seriously unwell.
“We do not have an endless supply of ambulances and people reported to be in a life-threatening condition such as cardiac arrest, who are not breathing or are unconscious, remain our priority.”
Simple self-care steps can be taken by people suffering from the effects of too much alcohol:
Ultimately you need to re-hydrate your body - replace lost fluids by drinking bland liquids that are easy on the digestive system, such as water, soda water and isotonic drinks;
Painkillers can help with headaches and muscle cramps;
Visit the NHS Choices website for more hangover advice: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Hangovers.aspx
EMAS will continue to be busy throughout the day and people are advised to use the emergency service wisely.
Inappropriate calls prevent EMAS from getting to people in real need.
Advice for minor illness and injury can be gained at Urgent Care or Walk-In Centres or by calling NHS111. Visit www.nhs.uk for details on NHS services near you.