The East Midlands Ambulance Service, which covers the Lincolnshire area, received 1,021 emergency calls in just the first seven hours of 2020.
That equals a 999 call being taken every 20 seconds during the busiest hours.
By 3am, 999 control rooms had taken almost 600 emergency and urgent calls – a figure not normally reached until at least 9am even on busy days.
They weren’t the only emergency services dealing with a surge in demand. Humberside Police took around 350 999 calls in the first six hours of the year.
In central Lincolnshire, police tweeted that 48 people woke up in cells on New Year’s Day, having been arrested or due to ‘overindulging’.
Extra staff were drafted in to conduct one of the busiest nights of the year.
EMAS has been running a strategic command cell – key operational leads and senior management – each day since early December to respond swiftly to incidents, to support with peaks in demand and to liaise with other parts of the care system to manage the increased demand.
Strategic commander Ben Holdaway said: “We expect New Year’s Eve and into News Year’s Day to be our busiest time of the year, but we have also seen unprecedented levels of activity in the service over the last couple of months. Our teams have been working tirelessly to prepare for the overall rise in demand expected during December, January and into February and we continue to work closely with colleagues in other NHS organisations to ensure patients receive the help they need.
“Crews in our emergency ambulances and fast response vehicles, volunteer responders and teams in our Emergency Operations Centres have worked fantastically over the first few hours of the year.
“The support they have received from our mechanics, support staff and administration teams has been equally impressive.
“I would like to send my personal thanks to all colleagues and volunteers for their hard work and wish them a Happy New Year.”
EMAS expects activity levels to remain high through January and February. The service has said that during busy periods it will prioritise the most serious cases, advising other callers that they will need to wait until resources become available.