A spike in medical emergencies caused by Sunday’s snow forced the region’s ambulance service to declare an internal major incident and get all available staff to respond to 999 calls.
Almost 4,400 calls were received yesterday, making it one of the busiest days in recent years.
Demand increased more than 20 per cent from the same day last year.
East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) Chief Executive Officer Robert Morton said: “The conditions we experienced yesterday were extreme and we would like to thank the public for being patient with our responses.
“We had to prioritise life-threatening calls and the most seriously ill patients, and our call handlers had to let those calling about less serious incidents know they could wait a very long time for an ambulance and to consider an alternative if it was not a life-threatening emergency.”
The most affected areas for the ambulance service were Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and West Essex.
Mr Morton added: “Every single member of EEAST has worked incredibly hard and is continuing to do so.
“Some members of staff came in on their days off and others worked many hours on from the end of their shift, responding so compassionately to those who need us most in the community to make sure our patients got the best possible care they could.”
Just before 10am today (Monday, December 11) the internal major incident status was removed, but the trust is still urging the public to take care in icy conditions, check on vulnerable neighbours and choose wisely about which NHS service they require.
For more information about being Winter Wise, visit: http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/news/eight-ways-you-can-be-more-winter-wise-this-year/1926.