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New Year’s Danger: NHS Gets Record Number of 111 Phone Calls

Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards Twitter | Published on: Jan 12, 2017 | Updated: May 22, 2017 Read more: Health & Safety

The UK saw the busiest week ever for the NHS’s 111 phoneline over Christmas and New Year. The non-emergency number saw a 6% rise since last year, and it was the busiest period since records began in 2010.

NHS statistics January 2017

The NHS’s week in stats – December 25th 2016 to Sunday 1st January 2017

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are times of celebration, bringing people together and enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, the number of accidents and injuries has risen sharply this year.

In fact, the end of 2016 seemed to have been a particularly nasty one for public health and safety services globally, and the UK made up just a small part of the accident statistics from across the world.

The NHS’s Nightmare Week

The NHS received 457,084 calls on its 111 phoneline across seven days, ending in January 1st. This was a record number for the service and shows the dangers of the variety of events over the period.

It has been reported that the 27th and 28th of December saw the most hospital admissions, with 60,000 on Boxing Day alone. But despite an already stretched service, the NHS claimed a high response rate with 80% of calls being answered within 60 seconds.

This high volume of admission seems to go somewhat against the trend in the last five years of released statistics, which shows a gradual declining trend in the overall number of admissions during the week of New Year’s celebrations.

A&E Admissions over New Year

The most notable British accident came when a free runner, known for the act of ‘train surfing’, passed away on the Paris Metro on New Year’s Day.

Health and Safety NYE Incidents Around The Globe

While the UK was receiving record numbers of accidents, incidents in some other countries around the world were also at a high over holidays.

Thailand saw a disastrous “seven dangerous days” between December 29th to January 4th, during which 478 people were killed and 4,128 injured in road accidents – the highest death toll in ten years. The dangers of New Year’s celebrations were evident on January the 1st which saw the highest accident count at 81 deaths and 778 injured. 36.6% of these were alcohol related and 31.3% were the result of speeding.

Elsewhere in Asia a high number of accidents related to firecrackers were recorded in the Philippines – the consequence of overzealous celebrations. There were 25 burns from the blasts, 13 eye injuries and 1 amputation. Two men died in Australia from illegal firework related accidents, showing the danger of these explosives if not used correctly or under the right supervision.

NYE Firework Incidents

Denmark was a European country that also took some of its celebrations too far. 267 people were injured on New Year’s Eve (all of them firework related). Unlike in Australia, the vast majority were legal fireworks – although some had ended up in the hands of children under the age of 15, which made up a third of all injured on the night.

Some altogether positive national news came from Italy though, which saw the fourth consecutive year without a death on New Year’s Eve.

Health and Safety Event Planning in 2017

Staying on top of safety planning should be imperative for any organisation planning an event, especially during the holidays. The NHS may have borne the brunt of the fallout from the festive period, but appears to have coped admirably.

Organisation and good planning is key to those planning a celebratory event in 2017 – particularly when working with fireworks. You will need a fully equipped safety team who are aware of any fire risk assessment material and who have been given clear instructions and communications on how to handle spectators and other revellers during the event. Fire and police ambulance services will also need to be made aware, as will local hospitals.

We all know that prevention is better than cure, but it is perceived as too much trouble to put in to practice. If health and safety was better considered during the planning of events, there would be less people harmed, resulting in a lesser burden on the NHS.

A preventive, or proactive, approach to managing health and safety also makes good business sense. The cost of preventing accidents is significantly less than the cost to event organisers and the NHS in dealing with the consequences of an accident.

How Arinite can help

Arinite can assist in the carrying out of risk assessments and/or providing risk assessment training for employees.

Contact us

Arinite clients appreciate we provide practical, no-nonsense advice about what you need to do to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. My team of health and safety consultants take pride in keeping health and safety simple.

If you need to call upon our expert assistance, or just for an informal chat, please call me on: mobile 0780 361 2948, office 0207 947 9581, or drop me a line at

Bryan Richards 12th January 2017

Arinite Ltd, Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT

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