People have been thanked for their help in reducing the number of calls to the region’s ambulance service over the Christmas period.

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It was another busy period for the East of England Ambulance Service, with more than 2,700 emergency calls on Christmas Day – 40 more than 2012 – though the number of calls between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day fell from 8,175 last year to 7,813 this year.

In Norfolk, 344 calls were received on Christmas Day, compared to 370 in Cambridgeshire and 313 in Suffolk.

The overall Christmas Day total is around 300 more than the average day, with 1,241 patients taken to hospital.

Calls ranged from chest pains, illnesses and falls to choking, assaults and births. Around 30% of patients attended were in a life-threatened condition, including cardiac arrest, suspected stroke, or serious wounds.

Some 875 less serious calls were received, meaning patients could stay at home. Community first responder volunteers, who gave up thousands of hours of their own time, saw 188 patients.

Rob Ashford, acting director of service delivery, said: “While it’s encouraging we’ve seen a slight decrease in the number of calls compared to the same period last year, we’re still seeing an increase each Christmas Day. Our staff are working as hard as ever over the period and I’m proud of all those who have been carrying out lifesaving work for the trust over the past few days.”

He also asked people to think twice about calling 999 over the new year period, to ease pressure on the service over its two busiest days of the year.

See www.eastamb.nhs.uk to more advice.

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