SOUTH East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has revealed it handled an average of 200 calls an hour in the three hours after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

In the 12-hour period between 5pm on December 31 and 5am on January 1, ambulance crews also responded to 1,100 incidents.

And the trust’s NHS 111 service was also in high demand as staff across the region handled more than 2,500 calls throughout December 31.

SECAmb is expecting demand to remain high in the coming weeks and throughout the winter.

People are urged to only dial 999 in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency and to make use of a variety of alternatives to calling 999, including NHS 111, when it’s less serious.

SECAmb chief executive Daren Mochrie said: “I’m extremely proud of everyone’s efforts. I would like to thank every member of staff and also our volunteers including our community first responders and chaplains at this busy time of year.”