EASTER bank holiday was the one of the busiest Easters for ambulance calls out on record, say Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, after a 10 per cent increase in 999 calls.

In total 11,310 incidents were reported over the four day holiday, up 10 per cent from the same period in 2018.

Each day saw at least 2,600 incidents attended by ambulance crews across the South West. Just four other days in the last 12 months have been busier. These were New Year’s Day, December 1, 2 and July 7.

Speaking during a Health Select Committee meeting, Jo Cullen group director for Wiltshire CCG said: “Easter Saturday was really challenging and the Saturday and Sunday were the third and fourth busiest days of the year. This Easter has been the busiest on record for ambulance services across the South west.We know there is a very close link to 111 to make sure that if the calls for the ambulance isn’t life threatening the 111 provider can really support with the calls coming through.”

Wiltshire CCG published winter pressures figures which show delays for patients leaving hospitals are still below national targets across the RUH, Great Western Hospital and Salisbury District Hospital.

In December 2018, patients are spent 14 per cent fewer unnecessary days in hospital through delayed transfers of care, but are still above NHS averages.

Altogether 1369 days were spent in hospital by patients waiting to be discharged, 169 days above targets.

Making sure patients leave hospitals as soon as they are well enough to free’s up beds for other patients and prevents bed blocking.

Ms Cullen said: “We are improved from this time last year but there are targets and we are trying to meet them. We are in a better place than we were last year.”

Additional funding of £4.5m to ease winter pressures helped hospitals cope with increased demand over the coldest part of the year, but question marks remained over whether the funding would return for future years. Wiltshire Council’s Corporate director Carlton Brand corporate director of adult social services and public health said: “We didn’t get the winter pressure money until October but we mobilised very quickly and started to see it having a big impact January onwards. I’ve had a lot of pressure to maintain those extra services but I’ve had to withdraw a lot because there is no money. I suspect we will have money for next winter but it will be on hold utill that is confirmed. It is the same across the country.”