'Chaotic' Easter for paramedics

WITH fights, drunkenness, stabbings, shootings and drug overdoses, the Easter period was “chaotic” for East Anglia's ambulance service.More 999 calls than ever before were made for ambulances over the Bank Holiday, with the trust saying it was “by far the busiest Easter on record”.

WITH fights, drunkenness, stabbings, shootings and drug overdoses, the Easter period was “chaotic” for East Anglia's ambulance service.

More 999 calls than ever before were made for ambulances over the Bank Holiday, with the trust saying it was “by far the busiest Easter on record”.

There were 611 emergency responses on Saturday alone - the fifth busiest day on record - compared to the corresponding Bank Holiday Saturday last year, which saw just 493 calls.

It has now called on people to take more responsibility for their own welfare and that of their friends so it does not become inundated with calls again over the next long weekend.


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Rob Lawrence, director of operations for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust, said many of the calls were “totally avoidable”.

“A look through our computer logs for Saturday makes pretty grim reading. About 12% of emergency calls were drink, drug or violence related,” he said.

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“This situation has been deteriorating for some years now and it's about time people started taking some responsibility, not only for themselves, but for the welfare of their friends.

“The ambulance service and 999 is rapidly becoming a greater health and social care safety net than it has ever been in the past.

“To cope with that increasing demand we need to deal with and manage down the unnecessary workload and unfortunately the majority of this is drink and drug related.

“All we ask is that common sense prevails.”

A spokesman for the trust said ambulance crews and first responders coped admirably with the high demand, arriving at 72.6% of life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes.

Mr Lawrence added: “We did remarkably well to reach so many people so quickly given the circumstances, but there is naturally a greater chance of delays when you get such huge peaks of demand.”

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