South's ambulances set for busy new year

Ambulances SCAS serves Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire

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South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) said it is expecting call-outs to rise in the run-up to new year celebrations.

During December, the service said it saw emergency calls rise by up to 21% compared to the November average.

It blamed more weather-related incidents, road collisions, falls and injuries resulting from assaults.

People without life-threatening conditions have been urged to use walk-in centres, out-of-hours GP services or NHS Direct over the festive period.

SCAS, which covers Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, said it was expecting a 4% increase in call-outs for the year compared to 2010.

A spokeswoman said: "The main drivers behind this is that an ageing population means we are more likely to receive calls from patients that are older.

"And [as] the public become more and more aware of the service [they] are therefore more likely to use it."

SCAS's three emergency centres handles about 1,000 emergency calls a day, with about 300 said to be potentially life-threatening.

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