Stretched Sheffield hospitals braced for new year spike in ambulance arrivals and waits

Stretched Sheffield hospitals will be on standby for up to 20 per cent more ambulance arrivals on January 1 – with figures showing a spike on new year’s day in recent years.
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As ambulance delays and waiting lists have hit record levels in recent weeks, the NHS says demand for care means the public should use "use emergency services wisely" over the period.

Data from NHS England shows that January 1 is a busy day for ambulance arrivals at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – this year, 127 patients arrived via ambulance, 20 per cent more than the average for the prior fortnight.

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The trend was even more pronounced before the pandemic – on January 1 2020, the last opening day of the year before coronavirus struck the UK, there was a 25 per cent increase on the previous two weeks.

As ambulance delays and waiting lists have hit record levels in recent weeks, the NHS says demand for care means the public should use "use emergency services wisely" over the period.As ambulance delays and waiting lists have hit record levels in recent weeks, the NHS says demand for care means the public should use "use emergency services wisely" over the period.
As ambulance delays and waiting lists have hit record levels in recent weeks, the NHS says demand for care means the public should use "use emergency services wisely" over the period.

Those needing emergency transport to hospitals this year will have additional complications to contend with, with delays - where people are held in ambulances - hitting their highest levels on record across England. In Sheffield, some 25.9 per cent of arrivals between December 19 and 25 faced an hour's delay this year, up from 2.2 per cent on the same dates a year ago. A further 17.4 per cent faced a wait of half-an-hour or longer this year – last year, 9.2 per cent did on those dates.

After calling off a strike due to take place on December 28 so people could "enjoy Christmas without any additional anxiety", ambulance workers are due to take action across England on January 11 and 23. It will take place around similar action from nurses, who will strike on January 18 and 19, having already walked out for two days in December.

An NHS spokesman said: “The NHS has seen record demand for emergency care in recent months which is likely to continue through the new year period, so it’s important that the public use emergency services wisely.

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“This means continuing to call 999 for life-threatening emergencies and using 111 online for other health needs where you will receive advice on the best next steps to take.”

The trust includes the Northern General, Royal Hallamshire, Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and Weston Park Hospital.