As it prepares to receive close to three calls a minute in the
hours after the New Year is seen in, South East Coast Ambulance
Service (SECAmb) is asking the public for its support and patience.
The Trust will be working hard to continue to prioritise its
response to its most seriously ill and life-threatened patients
throughout New Year’s Eve.

Calls which do not relate to a serious emergency will be
assigned to a lower category of response and are likely to have to
wait longer than normal at periods of increased demand. Anyone not
facing an emergency is urged to make use of NHS 111 for advice.

Last New Year’s Eve saw SECAmb handled close to 850 calls to its
999 service in the seven hours after 8pm. Calls handled per hour
doubled from 61 between 8-9pm, to 120 between 9-10pm. Demand was at
its highest between midnight and 1am as staff in the Trust’s two
Emergency Operations Centres managed 173 calls. This New Year’s Eve
is once again expected to place significant pressure on the

Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said: “Our control
room staff, crews and volunteers out on the road, as well as a
variety of support staff in departments such as fleet will be
working as hard as ever to ensure people get the help they require
as we prioritise our response to our sickest patients. I would urge
people to remember to use NHS 111 for advice when it’s not an
emergency. NHS 111 will also be busy but by choosing the right
service people can really help us manage our demand.

“On the night itself, we want people to have fun but be sensible
and look out for each other. If people are drinking alcohol, I’d
urge them to also have soft drinks and remember to eat. The vast
majority of calls relating to alcohol on New Year’s Eve are
avoidable. If these can be cut down we are in a far better place to
respond to the unavoidable emergencies which are in urgent need of
our attendance.”