New Year’s Eve is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency services.
Alongside an influx of alcohol-related illnesses, teams must rush to acute critical incidents, all the while battling staff shortages due to Covid and an increase in Covid-related calls.
And last night – they were called to people who needed everything from help to breathe to being patched up and given a slice of toast and went home.
The London Ambulance Service said they received four hundred 999 calls an hour in the hours immediately after midnight.
They expect as many as 8,500 ‘999’ calls today (January 1). To put this in context, a typically busy day before the pandemic would have seen around 5,500 calls to 999 control rooms.
A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service (LAS) said they were taking part in “a large number” of calls to people struggling to breathe, which was “not surprising” given the current high number of Covid infections.
LAS told MyLondon: “We took part in the usual series of incidents in London – including some violent incidents and a large number of people with respiratory problems – not surprisingly for the season and with Covid still widespread.
“We also saw dozens of falls and fainting events, some of which were due to alcohol.
Darren Farmer, Director of Operations at the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and today’s Gold Commander “
In addition to the London Ambulance Service, volunteers from St. John’s Ambulance across the capital to keep New Year’s celebrations safe.
One of them was Peter Hollely, who volunteers for St John’s in his spare time, alongside his full-time role at Croydon Hospital as head of emergency medicine nursing.
Along with 30 other volunteers, Peter worked last night at a treatment facility set up in the West End – which aims to prevent people from entering the emergency room by setting up a “mini emergency room” on site.
Peter told MyLondon: “We saw everything from people with anxiety, had too much drinking, small wounds, minor injuries.
“Women’s safety is a big issue for us. We saw a woman separated from friends. She was very anxious and had been drinking. So we gave her some tea and toast and just had a chat with her about her life and reassured her.
“We took her back to the hotel where she lived and she was at home safe and sound.”
“It was a steady stream through the night – but busier than a normal Friday.
“It was great to be able to support the community and support the NHS under great pressure. And bars and clubs are certainly assured that we are there.”
Do you have a health-related story you want to share? Contact email@example.com