ST John experienced its highest number of emergency calls in January 2017, with an increase of 15% in demand for ambulance attendance compared with the previous January record in 2016. The service is also seeing a general rise in emergency calls annually.

The Emergency Ambulance Service attended 484 calls in the first month of this year, averaging 15.6 per day, which compares with 420 for the corresponding January. Since the start of 2014, the total number of calls in a 12 month period indicate a 10.74% rise over two years, from 4,508 in 2014, 4,600 to 4,992 in 2016.

The statistics are produced by the Medical Priority Dispatch System which is used by the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre.

Jon Beausire, Chief Officer of the Emergency Ambulance Service, attributed the January rise to seasonal illness on the island and the overall change in the demographics of the local population.

‘An increase in breathing difficulties is expected and the seasonal, colder weather at that time of year could be a factor for the additional calls made in January.

‘It is also the case that an older population requires greater medical support than their younger counterparts so our figures reflect the increasing proportion of elderly residents locally. For example, the type of incident which we attended most frequently last year was to people who had fallen and sustained an injury, and the age of patients was 79 years old’, he said.

Other figures indicate that the busiest day and month in 2016 for emergency calls were Friday and August and midday is also a particularly hectic time.

Mr. Beausire confirmed that in order to handle this additional work, off-duty staff are regularly being called in.

‘The use of volunteer Community First Responders along with the other emergency services acting as co-responders has been successful in ensuring life-saving treatment reach patients throughout the island as quickly as possible. It does not, however, reduce the demand for ambulances, which are sent to every life-threatening condition,’ he added.

Posted: March 29, 2017