Record demand for ambulances in Bedford over Christmas

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Ambulance teams faced record-breaking demand over the Christmas period, with 800 more calls received than 12 months ago.

Between 7pm on Christmas Eve and 11pm on Boxing Day, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) handled 6,849 calls.

This was almost a 14 per cent increase compared to the 6,021 calls received in 2015.

Across Bedfordshire the number of call-outs increased by 12 per cent, from 578 to 650.

And the number of calls received on December 27 increased by more than a quarter compared to 2015 – from 2,846 to 3,624.

Sandy Brown, director of nursing and clinical quality, thanked patient-facing members of the service “in the midst of unprecedented demand”.

She said: “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.

“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 transferable illnesses, we do urge people to use their common sense – try and minimise risks so something doesn’t worsen and then need emergency treatment.”

She added: “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. Soft drinks and square meals, plenty of hydration, and avoiding being out in the freezing temperatures will make all the difference.”

For more information, advice and directions to help about staying well, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk