The region’s ambulance service experienced a decrease in 999 calls at the start of 2014, compared to last year’s busy New Year period.

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Officials at the East of England Ambulance Service thanked staff and volunteers for their work in caring for more than 2,000 patients during a busy night on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

The ambulance trust, which covers six counties, saw 2,164 emergency calls during the New Year celebrations, most of which involved falls as well as assaults and poorly patients. Of those, around 700 people were taken to hospital.

The number of 999 calls was a decrease on last year, when the NHS trust received around 2,500 calls between 7pm on New Year’s Eve and 7am on New Year’s Day.

Services worked in partnership with local authorities and voluntary groups as many town and city centres had minor injury units set up to treat patients as 999 calls peaked at just after midnight.

Rob Ashford, acting director of service delivery at the ambulance service, said: “My thanks and praise go out to all our staff and volunteers who worked during this difficult shift. You have all been working as hard as ever over the festive period and I’m proud of all those who have been carrying out lifesaving work for the Trust over the past few days.”

“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,” he said.

Essex had the most amount of calls on New Year’s Eve with 707. There were 279 calls from Norfolk and 255 from Suffolk.

Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, starts his new role as the part time CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service today. He had been meeting and greeting staff in Norwich and Peterborough.

Further advice on winter health issues are available at www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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