Ambulance service tackles record number of calls this Christmas

General View of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at ColneyAmbulance outside the Accident

General View of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at ColneyAmbulance outside the Accident and Emergency deptN & N/ Hospital / A and E / NNUHPicture: James BassCopy: For: EDP NewsEastern Daily Press © 2008 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2008

Ambulance volunteers and staff have been praised for handling a record number of calls over Christmas.

From 7pm on Christmas Eve to 11pm on Boxing Day, call handlers at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) answered 6,849 calls - 828 more than the year before.

Of the 6,849, 1,407 were in Norfolk, 880 in Suffolk and 1,016 in Cambridgeshire.

Sandy Brown, director of nursing and clinical quality, thanked members of the service, who she said had been 'in the midst of unprecedented demand'.

'I'm very thankful to our teams for the hard work they are putting into responses to patients, and with call demand up so much higher than last year, their commitment really does shine through,' he said.

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'These spikes in demand are experienced nationally and are hard to explain, but as we see colder weather affect people who are vulnerable of norovirus and other transferrable illnesses, we do urge people to use their common sense - try and minimise risks so something doesn't worsen and then need emergency treatment.'

On Tuesday, December 27, 3,624 calls were answered, compared to 2,846 in 2015.

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Today, a Norwich ambulance crew will be sharing live updates of their day on Twitter, ahead of the busy New Year weekend.

Mr Brown said: 'Going into the weekend and the New Year celebrations, people need to be mindful that the consequences of over-doing it – such as collapsing and becoming unconscious from excessive drinking – are avoidable with just a bit of care.'

To follow the tweets, follow the ambulance service on @EastEnglandAmb

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