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News : Thousands of Calls as Kent Revellers Saw in New Year
Jan 2, 2014 -- Emergency services were inundated with calls this week as the county welcomed in the new year, with the ambulance call centre receiving more than three calls every minute.
Typically a night when the number of calls spike, paramedics worked round-the-clock to help people in need of help.
On New Year’s Eve, between 10pm and 4am the following day, South East Coast Ambulance Service’s call centre dealt with a massive 1,160 999 calls across its region of Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
And it didn’t stop there.
The new NHS 111 number, launched in April to replace the NHS Direct helpline, received around 3,500 calls on New Year’s Day.
The previous day, some 1,700 calls came into the phone line from people needing medical advice.
Kent Police also admitted it had been a "very busy night" for its officers as revellers took to pubs, clubs and house parties to see in the new year.
New Year’s Eve is traditionally a busy night for emergency services with more people out drinking.
And with flooding in the west of the county and severe weather, it meant extra pressure.
Health chiefs at SECAmb admitted it had been a particularly busy Christmas and new year.
"It is always a very busy time of year for the ambulance service," said SECAmb chief executive Paul Sutton.
"With the additional challenge of the floods all our staff had to work extremely hard to meet the demand placed upon them.
"I’m extremely proud of how everyone rose to the challenge. At busy periods such as this they never fail to do so.
"I’d also like to thank the public on behalf of everyone at SECAmb for their kind words of support.
"All our staff joined the ambulance service knowing they will be working at times of the year such as Christmas but that doesn’t make it any easier for them or their families."
Mr Sutton also praised the hard work of volunteers including Community First Responders, St John’s Ambulance, chaplains and the British Red Cross.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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