Record year for North East ambulance calls
A record number of emergency calls were made to the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) in the past year, according to the NHS.
Operators dealt with almost 430,000 calls in 2009/10 - 27,000 more than in the previous 12 months.
It also transported 279,000 patients to hospital, an increase of 10,000.
Director of operations Paul Liversidge said staff had worked tremendously hard during a year made tougher by the coldest winter in 30 years.
He said: "I am really proud of all our staff who have worked very hard over the past year to respond to the calls from patients in need across the North East even quicker."
Other figures released include the service's response times to Category A, or immediately life-threatening calls.
In 75.4% of cases, crews arrived within eight minutes - 0.4% above the target.
Where a fully-equipped ambulance was required, 98.8% of crews responded within 19 minutes - above the target figure of 95%.
However, the service missed its target of responding to 95% of Category B calls in 19 minutes - managing 94%.