SWINDON paramedics had a hectic festive period after call outs soared by 30 per cent - with one day almost twice as busy as the previous year.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust responded to 1,198 incidents in and around the town between December 23 and January 1.

The busiest day was December 30, which saw 146 call outs - an 87 per cent increase on 2016.

New Year’s Day saw 141 incidents (up 40 per cent) while on Boxing Day paramedics attended 136 call outs, an increase of 28 per cent.

The only day over the festive period which saw a fall in calls was New Year’s Eve, where the ambulance service attended 103 calls in Swindon, a fall from 116 the previous year. Overall call outs in Swindon were up 30 per cent on previous year.

SWASFT covers Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and the Isles of Scilly. It described the festive period as “a significant challenge” and urged the public to only dial 999 in the event of an emergency.

The ambulance service dealt with 27,012 incidents across the region in total, with New Year’s Day (3,508 incidents) among the busiest days on record.

A spokesman for SWASFT said: “The Trust has been experiencing considerable demand on the service at one of the busiest times of the year. When demand is very high all of our staff will be working extremely hard to do everything they can to attend as many incidents as possible.

“With the increase in demand for the 999 ambulance service it is important that people remember to choose well and only call 999 in a genuine life threatening emergency such as cardiac arrest, choking, severe chest pain, suspected stroke, serious blood loss and unconsciousness. This will help us reach those in serious need as soon as possible.”