Residents are being urged to only dial 999 to call an ambulance in an emergency after a surge of calls on Sunday.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received more than 85,000 calls last month, compared with just over 72,000 in February 2015.
The increase in calls resulted in the Trust sending a response to more than 66,000 incidents in February – an almost 10% increase in actual responses compared with the same month last year.
The surge in demand has continued into March with the service taking more 999 calls on Sunday (6th March) than New Year’s Eve/Day, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year.
Rob Ashford, Acting Director of Service Delivery for EEAST, said: “We have experienced an unprecedented increase in demand in the last few weeks, which has placed huge pressure on all of our patient facing and support services staff and management teams. We are all working incredibly hard to meet demand and help patients as quickly as possible. However, we would urge people to think about the alternatives if their condition doesn’t actually need an emergency ambulance.”
He continued, “Of course the NHS is here for those people who have an urgent need, and we are called to help the really ill and most injured. Help us by looking after yourself as much as you possibly can. If you are not sure, call 111 for advice or visit your pharmacy.”