Don't start 2017 in an ambulance!

Don't start 2017 in an ambulance!

After a very busy Christmas period (see notes to editor) our Ambulance Service is preparing for New Year’s Eve with a plea to those celebrating to start 2017 safe and well.

The traditional party night puts more demand on 999 call takers, ambulance dispatchers, clinicians in the control centre and ambulance crews than any other time of the year. 

Whilst most people will drink responsibly, unfortunately there are some who will overdo it.

Ben Holdaway, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) Deputy Director of Operations said: “Every New Year’s Eve and Day we see a huge increase in 999 calls.

“In the first six hours of 2016 we received over 1,000 emergency 999 calls. That’s a new call every 18 seconds and twice as many as on an average night.

“Despite the big increase in calls, only 36% of patients required further treatment in hospital, demonstrating that not all requests for help related to emergency or serious incidents.

“Many New Year’s Eve and Day calls could have been avoided if people had drunk alcohol in moderation and taken care.

“We don’t have an endless supply of ambulances and our message is clear: we need you to help us to get to those in your community that really need an emergency response this New Year.”

Follow these tips for a safe and hangover-free celebration:

  • Enjoy yourself but don’t drink too much alcohol.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water or fruit juice – this will help to prevent you becoming dehydrated.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
  • Pace yourself by taking small sips.
  • Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Opt out and drink at your own pace.
  • To avoid your drink being tampered with, never leave it unattended.
  • Know your limits: both men and women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day (a 250ml glass of wine contains 3 units).


“Our frontline and control room colleagues and volunteers will be working incredibly hard, sometimes in hostile and challenging environments, to get to people in need. I thank them all for their commitment to provide quality care for the people of the East Midlands,” added Ben.

To support the pressure facing the NHS at this time, in addition to having more ambulance crews in each county, a number of treatment schemes will be operating in towns and cities across the East Midlands:


A Police and Integrated Care Team (POLICT) car will operate in North Derbyshire. The vehicle is manned by our paramedic, a mental health nurse and a police officer.  In Derby city centre a ‘safe haven’ triage unit is being manned by our team of paramedics to treat people with minor injuries and provide a safe place for those who may have consumed too much alcohol.


A Mobile Treatment Centre (MTC) will be in Leicester city treating patients with minor injuries to avoid unnecessary ambulance call outs and hospital admissions. The MTC will be staffed with EMAS clinicians and nurses from University of Leicester NHS Trust. EMAS will also have two Polambs (joint Police and Ambulance vehicle) in the City Centre.


A medical triage facility will be operating in Lincoln city for both 30 and 31 December. In Scunthorpe the NiteSafe initiative will be in operation and an ambulance will be there in assess patients with minor injuries.


EMAS and St John Ambulance are operating a Mobile Treatment Centre in Nottingham city to provide advice and treatment to people who are injured or unwell.  A Polamb (joint Police and Ambulance vehicle) will be operating in Mansfield town centre.


Notes to Editor:

  1. Between 23 December to 28 December 2016, EMAS received over 16,800 emergency and 999 calls.  This compares to just over 15,000 during the same period in 2015.
  2. Calls to the ambulance service are categorised dependent on the condition reported at the time of the call. Those deemed to be immediately life-threatening are categorised as Red calls. The national performance standard is for 75% of all Red calls to be reached within 8 minutes. EMAS plans for, and is commissioned (eg paid and therefore resourced to a level), for 42% Red activity, however during December 2016, the Red calls received to date have equated to 57% of all activity, putting an increase in pressure on the service.
  3. The public are advised to #StayWellThisWinter and choose health services wisely. For illness or injury that is not an emergency, advice can be gained from NHS111 by telephone number 111, or services local to you can be found via the NHS Choices website at 
EMAS ambulance responding to emergency call