The number of call-outs for the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) in December rose by more than 5,000 since the same month last year.
There have been almost 5,500 emergency calls made in the first 28 days of December, equivalent to a rise of eight per cent.
And EMAS has urged people not to dial 999 unnecessarily as it prepares for New Year’s Day – traditionally the time at which it is busiest.
Between Christmas Day and Sunday, December 28, EMAS received 11,712 emergency calls, a rise of 32 per cent since 2013. Much of the rise has been attributed to the icy weather.
However, only half of those patients went to hospital, indicating paramedics were able to provide care at the scene – and also that some calls were made in non-genuine emergencies.
Pete Ripley from EMAS said: “Demand on our service continues to be significantly high, and this together with the challenging road conditions has made it very difficult for us to get to people quickly.
“To ensure we can continue to help those in the most need, we need the public’s support, particularly on New Year’s Day when we are preparing for even higher call levels.
“Please only dial 999 in genuine emergencies such as cardiac arrest and chest pain, unconscious or severe loss of blood.
“You can help by checking on friends, relatives and neighbours who may need a prescription collecting or just some reassurance, and by being aware of your local health services before you need them.
“Get early advice from your local pharmacy or GP, including out of hours, should you start to feel unwell, so you can start treatment and prevent your illness from worsening.
“Our colleagues and volunteers are working incredibly hard and we are proud of their continued commitment to provide the best possible care during this challenging time. Many from all areas of the service working over their shift hours or coming in for extra shifts to help us give the best possible patient care.
“Patients who really do need our help are treated as a priority, and people who are not in an emergency, will be further down the priority list as other life-threatening emergencies come in. “It is not true that arriving at A&E by ambulance will get you seen faster. Hospitals have their own assessment systems in place and patients with a non-urgent condition will wait just as long as if they had made their own way to hospital.”