Ambulance trust takes more than 2,700 999 calls on ‘Black Friday’ – as Essex Police reports a usual weekend

Ambulances at Colchester General Hospital.

Ambulances at Colchester General Hospital.

More than 2,700 999 calls were made to the region’s ambulance trust yesterday on traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for the service.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) said its Black Friday – the Friday before the Christmas holidays –saw a 7.5% increase on the average number of calls over the last four weeks.

Matt Broad, locality director at EEAST, said: “We were extremely busy yesterday and last night, but I would like to thank our staff in the control rooms and on the frontline who worked really hard to provide a good service to patients.

“The Christmas and winter period is always busy for the ambulance service and I would encourage anyone who needs medical help to choose well. If you need help but it is not an emergency please call 111, which is open 24 hours a day and who will be able to get the right help for you.”

The Essex Police control room recorded “business as usual” for the last weekend before Christmas with no significant increase in the number of incidents reported.

Incident numbers for the 24 hours from 6am on Friday were 1,320, and 1,207 for the following day – lower than the corresponding days the previous weekend, though slightly about average for the year as a whole.

There were 56 arrests made between 8pm Friday and 8am on Saturday, with 66 arrested in the same period from Saturday into Sunday.

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Chief Inspector Nick Lee said: “It has been very much business as usual in Essex for the number of incidents reported.

“he number of arrests is about 10 per cent higher than other weekends during the year and most of these arrests were drink-related.”