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Ambulance service covering Kent handles 200 calls an hour on New Year's Eve

The ambulance service was inundated with 200 calls an hour between midnight and 3am this morning as New Year revellers called for their help.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb) - which covers Kent and south east England - was 30% busier than it is on an average day, as people celebrated the beginning of 2019.

In the 12 hours between 5pm on December 31 and 5am on January 1, ambulance crews responded to 1,100 incidents - while staff at the trust's NHS 111 service handled more than 2,500 calls throughout New Year's Eve.

Ambulance crews dealt with more than 200 calls an hour during the peak time of New Year celebrations
Ambulance crews dealt with more than 200 calls an hour during the peak time of New Year celebrations

Secamb chief executive Daren Mochrie thanked staff and volunteers for their hard work over the festive period.

He said: “I’m extremely proud of everyone’s efforts last night and throughout the whole festive period.

"I would like to thank every member of staff and also our volunteers including our community first responders and chaplains for their commitment and professionalism at this busy time of year.

"It is always very humbling to see how everyone rises to the challenge when we face prolonged periods of pressure.

“I would also like to thank the families and loved ones of all our staff, as supporting someone working in the ambulance service is not easy, especially at this time of year.

"Finally, I would like to thank the public for the countless messages of support we have received in recent weeks and throughout the year. I wish everyone a happy and safe 2019.”

SECAmb is expecting demand to remain high in the coming weeks and throughout the winter.

People are urged to only dial 999 in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency - such as a heart attack, heavy bleeding or unconsciousness - and to make use of a variety of alternatives to calling 999, including NHS 111, when it’s less serious.

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