30 December 2016 - Ambulance Service Urges People to Think Twice Before Dialling 999 This New Year's Eve

As most people get ready to see the New Year in with a bang, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) is gearing up for its busiest night of the year.

Partygoers are urged to think twice as they dial 999, and remember that the three-digit number is for life-threatening or potentially life-threatening emergencies only.

Last year, the Trust responded to 3,560 incidents on New Year’s Eve between 6pm and 6am the following day, a number which has already been increased by 8 per cent on this year’s famous Christmas party night, ‘Mad Friday’ on 23 December.

Preparing for an even higher increase as we see 2016 come to a close, NWAS will maximise its resources on New Year’s Eve by deploying an extra 57 emergency ambulances, 11 rapid response vehicles, along with 30 emergency control staff.

Shaun Murray, Dispatcher for NWAS, said: “New Year’s Eve is always an extremely manic evening in our Emergency Operations Centre, which can made more difficult when we receive calls from drunk and abusive callers.

“New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate and have fun, but please don’t let your night end in disaster. Remember to drink sensibly and if you’re out and about, dress appropriately, stay with friends and keep your taxi money separate.

“For those enjoying fireworks, please ensure they are placed safely in the ground, everybody is kept well back and gloves are used when handling sparklers.

“If you do need medical help but it’s not an emergency, please make the right call and consider other options. You could dial 111 for advice.”

On New Year’s Eve last year, the Trust received a number of inappropriate 999 calls, for example, someone asked for an ambulance to be put on ‘stand by’ for 12am in case it was needed, asked to attend people that were throwing up after drinking too much alcohol, a twisted ankle and a cut finger. 

If you do call 999 for help, please be aware that the ambulance service must prioritise their resources to help the most seriously ill first, meaning that there will be a wait for less-urgent incidents.   Please consider if an emergency ambulance really is the best option before calling 999.