Four calls per minute to South East ambulance service

SECAmb call taker
Image caption Call numbers were up by 20% over the same period last year

The ambulance service in the South East was taking more than four calls every minute at the busiest period on New Year's Eve.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said there were 1,544 calls between 22:00 GMT on New Year's Eve and 04:00 GMT on New Year's Day.

The trust said the main reasons for the calls were assaults, falls, breathing problems and trauma.

SECAmb sent clinicians to nearly 100 fewer incidents than last year.

Medical staff at the trust's emergency operations centre provided advice over the phone and some calls were directed to a more appropriate service, a spokesman said.

The service which covers Kent, Sussex and Surrey received 20% more calls than during the same period last year.

Paul Sutton, Seacamb's chief executive, said: "Every year we receive a significant number of calls for which an ambulance isn't necessarily the most appropriate response.

"Our emergency medical advisors and clinicians in our emergency operations centres are able to provide expert help and advice and also direct callers to a more appropriate service for their needs."

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