Busiest night for Capital crews

Tuesday, 29 January, 2008

The London Ambulance Service dealt with an exceptionally high number of emergency 999 calls on New Year's Eve - the busiest since the Millennium. Between midnight and 4am the Service dealt with 1,825 calls, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.

The Service had anticipated high demand on what is traditionally its busiest evening of the year and had increased numbers of frontline staff working across the capital.

At London's celebration hotspots such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Leicester Square and the banks of the Thames, the Service worked with members of St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.

The Service had expected a high number of alcohol-related incidents and operated an alternative response vehicle to deal with these types of calls, treating patients for minor injuries and those who were simply drunk, hence freeing up regular ambulances to deal with more life-threatening incidents.

Assistant Director of Operations Jason Killens, who led the Service's response on New Year's Eve, said,"The majority of calls we have responded to have been alcohol-related, which we always anticipate to be the case on what is our busiest night of the year.

"We have used extra resources, such as an alternative response vehicle and staff on foot with medical equipment, and have worked with St John Ambulance to provide 13 temporary treatment centres. This helped us to manage the increase in demand and ensured people out celebrating in the centre of London received the most appropriate medical care as quickly as possible.

"I'd like to thank our frontline staff who have worked extremely hard to care for patients on a night of exceptionally high demand, and those in our Emergency Operations Centre who have worked tirelessly dealing with a huge number of calls.

"At the busiest point in the evening, our staff were taking more than 500 emergency calls an hour - more than four times what they would expect to deal with on a normal night."


Nearly 300 of the Capital's New Year's Eve revellers were treated by a team of volunteers from St John Ambulance London (Prince of Wales's) District as celebrations reached their peak.

Dave Bell, Assistant Commissioner Operations for St John Ambulance London (Prince of Wales's) District, said, "We always anticipate the potential for a high number of first aid incidents at the New Year celebrations in London, so had organised a large team to be present in the heart of the city.

"We are delighted with how efficiently our operation was run and are pleased that so many people were able to be treated on scene, far quicker than if they had had to rely upon reaching a hospital by their own accord.

"We are enormously proud of our many members who assisted on New Year's Eve, particularly when so many had been at work during the day and place such a high priority on their St John Ambulance commitment - no matter what the occasion."

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