MORE than 5,300 calls were made to the ambulance service on New Year's Day alone in the North West — a rise in emergencies over the festive period.

The festive season is one of the busiest times for the emergency services and paramedics have revealed that more than 5,300 999 calls were made in the region just on New Year's Day.

Health care workers responded to every kind of incident over the Christmas period, even firework injuries in Bolton.

Christmas Day itself saw a rise in call for the North West Ambulance Service in comparison to previous years.

The big day saw an increase of seven per cent of calls on last year and started in an extra special way with a baby being born in an ambulance just after midnight.

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.”

The NHS as a whole was slammed with calls in the last couple of weeks. The busiest day for NHS 111 was December 28, with 12,460 calls — one every 70 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.”