Almost five emergencies a minute for paramedics at peak New Year period

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Crews with the ambulance service covering Northamptonshire responded to 1,236 calls in the first six hours of the year.

On an average day, East Midlands Ambulance Service expect to receive about 2,000 emergency 999 calls over a 24-hour period.

But in the first six hours of 2014 alone, EMAS received 1,236 calls. Its busiest time was between 1am and 2am when 291 calls were received - at a rate of five emergencies per minute.

Richard Henderson, EMAS’ Director of Operations said: “I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who worked in on the frontline – those answering 999 calls in our Emergency Operations Centres and our clinicians out on the road providing medical treatment and care.

“They were supported by operational management teams based at hospital Emergency Departments to assist with the clinical handover of patients to hospital staff. We also value the assistance given by our Community First Responders, the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance and EMICS (East Midlands Immediate Care Scheme doctors), all of whom help us to provide the very best possible service.

“My thanks go to all of them for their continued dedication and support. Whilst most members of the public were celebrating the New Year, these people were hard at work doing a really great job in challenging circumstances.”

Mr Henderson said EMAS expects to continue to receive significant call numbers over the next few weeks, especially if the weather deteriorates.

He added: “That’s why I’d urge people to be 999 wise and to be aware of the options available for the treatment of minor illnesses or injuries rather than calling for an ambulance.”