Emergency Call Outs Soar as the Cold Weather Bites

London Ambulance Service report second busiest weekend

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Londoners are being urged take care in the cold, stock up on medicine and to use their ambulance service wisely, after the second busiest weekend in its history.

Ambulance staff responded to 6,436 emergency incidents across the capital over the weekend before Christmas as cold weather gripped the capital – an increase of nearly 12 per cent on the average for the previous four weekends.

Icy conditions have seen an increase in people dialling 999 after suffering trips, slips or falls on slippery pavements, putting extra pressure on the Service. The cold weather has also made existing conditions worse, such as asthma.

Deputy Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “With the cold weather set to continue, we’d urge people to take care when they’re out and about. Some roads and pavements are icy and very slippery, so people should be particularly careful. I’d also urge people to dress appropriately and wrap up warm.

“It’s also important that people plan ahead, and as well as stocking up on food for the festive period they should also make sure they have enough medicines in the house, especially prescriptions because many GP surgeries and pharmacists will be closed over Christmas.

“We’ve been receiving up to 300 calls an hour over the past few days so I’d ask people to use their ambulance service wisely and to think carefully before dialling 999.

“Anyone with minor illness or injury should think about using other healthcare options, such as their local pharmacist or NHS walk-in centre, or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. Or if people need to go to hospital for non-emergency treatment, they should consider making their own way there – going in an ambulance does not mean you will get seen any quicker.”

With the demand on the Service expected to remain high as the cold weather continues over the Christmas period, there are a number of things that people can do to help themselves:

Dress appropriately and wear sensible footwear

Wrap up warm to help keep the cold at bay

Stock up on medicine, especially if you have a pre existing condition such as asthma


December 22nd, 2009