From street fighting in Merseyside, firework injuries in Bolton to assaults in Lancashire, New Year’s Eve is historically one the busiest times of year for us and this year was no exception. We received over 5,300* 999 calls on New Year’s Day alone.

Christmas Day saw an increase of seven per cent when compared to last year and the day started in an extra special way with a baby being born in an ambulance just after midnight.

Messages of well wishes and support came flooding in on social media for the thousands of NWAS staff who worked over the festive period, sacrificing time with their families to help others.

Director of Operations Ged Blezard said: “As always, we were well prepared for the spike in calls over the Christmas period with months of planning and additional resources on key dates.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support during this busy time. We must prioritise life-threatening emergencies which can mean that patients in a less serious condition do experience a wait. We have been able to reduce wait times as much as possible by utilising our clinical hub providing medical advice over the phone and treating patients in the community wherever possible, reducing unnecessary A&E admissions.

“Alongside our dedicated staff, we are also very grateful for the support from our community first responders over Christmas and New Year. We have had the highest number of sign-ons from them than ever before and their presence is invaluable. The fact that they are volunteers and give their time freely makes their contribution even more commendable.”

NHS 111 has also been extremely busy, the busiest day being Saturday 28 December with 12,460 calls, one every seven seconds.

Ged continues: “As we head into January and February and the temperature plummets, we are expecting the high demand to continue and ask for the public to continue to help us by only calling 999 in life-threatening emergencies.”

People can take advice from a pharmacist for common health niggles, book an appointment with their GP for health issues which will not go away, visit an urgent treatment centre for minor illnesses and injuries or use NHS 111 online for health advice. In emergencies, if it is safe to get to an emergency department (A&E) without an ambulance then people should do that as arriving at hospital by ambulance won’t mean you’re seen any quicker.

*This statistic includes 999 calls, duplicate calls, incidents at events where NWAS is the medical provider and 111 pass throughs.