Yorkshire Ambulance Service reports "unprecedented" demand over Christmas

View of snow in Sheffield, from Crookes Image copyright Adam meeney
Image caption The ambulance service warned that bad weather would mean it could be "overwhelmed" by calls

Ambulance bosses in Yorkshire have said there were "unprecedented" call levels over the weekend after Christmas.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service had warned they warned it could be overwhelmed on Saturday and Sunday, when wintry weather hit the region.

It said the most serious calls were up almost 30% on last year.

Dr David Macklin, director of operations at the ambulance service, said extra staff and volunteers were drafted in to cope with the demand.

He said compared with 2013, there were over 7,000 more calls to the NHS non-emergency number 111.

The ambulance service covers about 6,000 square miles across the Yorkshire and Humber region, and serves more than five million people.

It said before Christmas it was "very busy" and predicted that because GP practices and NHS services closed over Christmas, they would get "an even higher volume of calls for seasonal illnesses and incidents".

According to the ambulance service:

  • Total demand for help on 27 and 28 December was up about 4.5% on last year
  • "Red" or immediately life threatening calls were up almost 30%
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service took 4082 calls to 999 on 27 and 28 December. 2095 of these were categorised as Red
  • NHS 111 took 19,638 calls on 27 and 28 December - an increase of 7092 calls on the same period last year

Dr Macklin said the increase in 999 calls was likely to last into the early part of next year.

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