Paramedics in Bedfordshire have just handled their busiest weekend in six years - ahead of tomorrow, known in the service as ‘blackout Friday’.
The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) last week had its busiest weekend since it launched in 2006. It took more calls on Friday and Saturday than it did on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in 2011.
Last weekend, from December 14-16, the service took 614 999 calls in Bedfordshire, compared to the previous year where it took 567 calls - a leap of just over eight per cent.
And on Saturday and Sunday it received 310 calls, which was just over 50 more compared to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day last year, a rise of nearly a fifth.
An EEAST spokesman said: “Every day is always going to be different, some quiet and some very busy indeed. Obviously there were a lot of people who required our service over this weekend. There were various injuries and conditions throughout the weekend. Types of calls included, strokes, cardiac conditions, RTCs and falls.”
There are around 615,000 people living in Bedfordshire, and last weekend the ambulance service had 12 double staffed ambulances and nine rapid response vehicles serving the county.
In preparation for what is traditionally its busiest weekend, the service is encouraging people to only call 999 if they are in need of emergency assistance.
Neil Storey, director of emergency operations, said: “I really want to praise our staff for their fantastic work especially during these very busy periods at this time of year.
“We really hope these figures allow people to take stock of just how many incidents we’re called to, at a time when we’re managing resources as best we can to ensure the most seriously ill are attended first.
“Our call volume tends to increase during this time of year because of a number of factors, including people out celebrating might become ill, or being involved in an accident that could have been avoided.”