Plea from South East Coast Ambulance Service for public restraint this New Year's Eve

The public is being urged not to drink alcohol to excess this New Year's Eve to ease pressure on the service. Credit: PA

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), which covers large parts of the South East of England, is urging the public not to drink alcohol to excess this New Year's Eve to ease pressure on the service.

People are being urged to plan how they are getting home and are being asked to look out for others.

The service, which covers Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, and North East Hampshire, is anticipating a busy weekend as demand remains high following the long Christmas bank holiday weekend.

In 2021, SECAmb answered one thousand 999 calls in just seven hours on New Year's Eve.

The ambulance service is anticipating a busy New Year's Eve. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The public is being asked to help SECAmb manage the additional pressure by reserving 999 for genuine emergencies and by making use of alternatives when it’s not serious, including visiting NHS 111 Online for help and advice.

SECAmb Executive Director or Operations, Emma Williams, said: "We have faced significant pressure on our services for many weeks but we know that New Year’s Eve can bring additional challenges.

"Of course, we know that many people will want to celebrate the new year but we ask that they do this sensibly, understanding the impact their decisions can have on an already stretched ambulance service.

"I would like to thank all our staff and volunteers for their hard work and professionalism at this busy time and urge the public to show their support by using NHS services wisely."

When to call 999:

If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following you must dial 999 for an ambulance:

  • heart attack (e.g. chest pain for more than 15 minutes)

  • sudden unexplained shortness of breath

  • heavy bleeding

  • unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained consciousness)

  • traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call an ambulance if:

  • you think the patient’s illness or injury is life-threatening

  • you think the illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the way to the hospital

  • the patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance service and its personnel