The ambulance service that covers Northamptonshire received a record-breaking number of calls in the first few hours of 2022.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), which covers Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, says 1,174 emergency calls were received in the first seven hours of the year; from midnight to 7am on Saturday (January 1).
The figure is 153 calls more than January 1, 2020 which saw 1,021 calls, and 453 more than New Year’s Day 2021 when the UK was in lockdown and new year celebrations were not permitted.
Strategic commander for EMAS, David Williams, said: “New Year's Eve into News Year’s Day is historically one of our busiest times of the year, but when combined with the unprecedented levels of demand our service has seen in the last year, it has understandably led to the record-breaking number of calls we saw.
“Someone who is reported to be in a cardiac arrest or suffering a stroke will be treated as a priority, which means that someone with an urgent medical issue that is not posing an immediate risk to life may have to wait longer for an ambulance.
“We need each and every person to play their part by being responsible for their own health, so we can continue to focus on getting to those patients who really need us due to a life-threatening emergency.
"Our teams have been working tirelessly to prepare for the overall rise in demand expected to continue into the winter months and we continue to work closely with colleagues in other NHS organisations to ensure patients receive the help they need.
“All of our staff, including crews in our emergency ambulances, fast response vehicles and teams within our Emergency Operations Centres have worked really hard to provide the best care possible to our patients, supported by our amazing volunteer responders.
“I would like to send my personal thanks to all colleagues and volunteers for their hard work and wish them a Happy New Year."
Along with the wider NHS system, EMAS says it continues to be extremely busy and is urging people to think about which service will give them the medical help they need, before acting.
People are being asked to play their part by seeking out the most appropriate service for their conditions. Help with less serious conditions is available from GP surgeries, pharmacies, visiting NHS111 online, or by visiting local walk-in centres.