PARAMEDICS across Berkshire are gearing up for what will potentially be a very busy night as England prepare to take on Croatia in the FIFA World Cup semi final.

Additional staff and vehicles will be on duty from 9pm across the South Central region; a silver command cell will be in place from earlier in the evening; and senior managers will be in SCAS’ two emergency 999 control rooms to help co-ordinate resources and responses to the expected increase in calls.

The ambulance service saw a 32 per cent increase in emergency calls between 12pm on Saturday and 6am on Sunday which has been credited to the recent hot weather coupled with England's win over Sweden.

Assistant Director of Operations, Paul Jefferies, said: “Fortunately, the vast majority of fans celebrated in the right way in our region and we didn’t see any damage to ambulance vehicles or property that colleagues elsewhere in the country had to deal with.

“However, it was still exceptionally busy and therefore these additional plans have been put in place so we are prepared for a similar expected increase. It is important that people understand that we will always prioritise our staff and resources to the most seriously ill or injured patients. People with less serious emergencies – our Category Three or Category Four patients who we would normally get to within two or three hours respectively – may experience some delays over and above these usual response times as a result.

“I hope people across our region enjoy the game, celebrate or commiserate with the same spirit and style Gareth Southgate has demonstrated so admirably so that we can make sure everyone tonight – not just football – is coming home safely.”

SCAS is urging members of the public to help those staff working this evening and overnight by:

  • Only calling 999 if you or someone you are with is suffering a life-threatening or serious emergency

  • For everything else, please call 111 as our 111 call handlers and clinicians are also available 24-7, and can also advise you on local health services that are open and more appropriate for less serious illness or injury

  • Understanding that some patients may experience delays, not calling 999 constantly for ETA updates from our control room staff and letting us know asap if the ambulance is no longer required

  • Making your own way to local minor injuries units, first aid units or walk-in treatment centres, many of which are open till late this evening, and where you could be treated and home before an ambulance would have been sent