Increase in South East Coast ambulance Christmas call-outs

Paramedics dealing with emergency calls across Kent, Sussex and Surrey have seen an 8% rise for the festive period compared to the same time last year.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said so far it had been receiving up to 2,500 calls per day.

Senior operations manager James Pavey said demand had increased year-on-year.

He said: "We're doing a lot of things to try and change the way that we respond to that. They [callers] may get advice."

Twitter advice

He added: "We will also say to people there are lots of services they can use as opposed to ringing 999.

"If you've got a minor ailment or injury you can contact NHS Direct, you can go and see your local pharmacist, your out-of-hours GP if it's over the weekend, or your GP if it's in hours.

"There's lots of services available people can opt to. They don't have to default to ringing 999."

SECAmb stressed that serious and life-threatening calls were its priority.

Last week, the service used its Twitter account to tweet details of call-outs live from its emergency centre in Lewes, East Sussex.

It has also been tweeting advice to help keep members of the public safe and well over the festive period, with its Twelve Days of Christmas messages which began on Christmas Day.

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