Private ambulances used to ease patient increase in Hertfordshire over Christmas

Private ambulances have been used by the East of England Ambulance Service to deal with patients ove

Private ambulances have been used by the East of England Ambulance Service to deal with patients over the Christmas period. - Credit: Archant

Private ambulances are being used to deal with an increase in patients over the holiday period, the East of England Ambulance Service has confirmed.

Ambulances from Thames Ambulance Service, a private company, have been spotted queuing outside Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

A spokesman for the ambulance service trust said: “We will continue to use both voluntary and private ambulance services in the short term as we manage a significant increase in demand on our service, a trend that every ambulance service in the country is experiencing.

“As always we would encourage the public to choose the right service for their needs.”

Peter Gibson, spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust which runs Lister, said around 300 to 400 patients had been seen each day.

He denied that ambulances had been waiting outside the hospital for patients to be admitted.

He told the Comet: “It is exceptionally busy at the moment, we are massively, massively busy – but patient treatment starts immediately although it may take a while to hand over the paperwork.

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“Anywhere in the country when you get five ambulances turn up it will be busy but we try and turn them around as quickly as possible.

“It has been incredibly busy but we have coped – just about.”