AN ambulance service has thanked its staff and volunteers for their hard work on New Year’s Eve.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb) also issued a thank you message to the public for their support over the festive period.

The trust handled 155 calls between midnight and 1am on New year’s eve, its busiest hour. Overall, between 8pm on New Year’s Eve and 3am on New Year’s Day, the service handled 61 more calls than in 2018.

Chief executive of Secamb Philip Astle said: “I’d like to thank every single member of staff and volunteer for their hard work over the last few weeks.

“We’ve seen some very busy days, especially in the week leading up to Christmas and, as ever, everyone has risen to the challenge to ensure the demand met.

“Working for the ambulance service is never easy but spending time away from family and loved ones when others are celebrating can make it even tougher.”

Demand was expected to remain high yesterday and throughout the first weekend of the year. People are urged to continue to use the NHS 111 service and only call 999 in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency.