Ambulance trust pleads with public to think before calling 999 as demand increases in region by around 10 per cent

East of England ambulance control centre in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

East of England ambulance control centre in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

The region's ambulance trust is urging people to use 999 wisely following another spike in demand.

Emergency calls from Norfolk rose by nearly 1,000 in February this year, compared to the same month in 2015.

In Suffolk, the number rose by 7.3pc, while Cambridgeshire saw an increase of 13.7pc.

The surge in demand has continued into March, with East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) taking more 999 calls last Sunday than on New Year's Eve/Day, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year.

Rob Ashford, acting director of service delivery for EEAST, said: 'We have experienced an unprecedented increase in demand in the last few weeks, which has placed huge pressure on all of our patient facing and support services staff and management teams.

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'We are all working incredibly hard to meet demand and help patients as quickly as possible.

'However, we would urge people to think about the alternatives if their condition doesn't actually need an emergency ambulance.'

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'Of course the NHS is here for those people who have an urgent need, and we are called to help the really ill and most injured. 'Help us by looking after yourself as much as you possibly can. If you are not sure, call 111 for advice or visit your pharmacy.'

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