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London ambulance service hit by new year fault

Ambulance response times were delayed in London overnight after technical problems hit the control room, the ambulance service has said.

It is understood the computer system crashed, so calls had to be recorded by pen and paper for nearly five hours on one of the busiest nights of the year.

A spokesman said staff were trained for such situations and continued to prioritise responses as usual.

Calls had to be logged manually between 00:30 GMT and 05:15 GMT.

The shutdown meant the real-time, web-based mapping of ambulance crews failed too, forcing staff to rely on radio communications only.

It also meant ambulance drivers had to manually input locations into their satellite navigation systems.

London Ambulance Service said an investigation would take place.

It does not yet have figures for the number of calls that were affected, but the service said its call handlers answer hundreds more calls than usual at this time of year.

The problems came as tens of thousands of people gathered to see in the New Year at London’s annual fireworks display, on what was predicted to be the service’s busiest night ever.

London Ambulance Service tweeted it had treated 162 patients in the event area.

It was at nine treatment centres across the city throughout the night to look after people who had too much to drink.

The UK’s police presence has been stepped up amid security fears following a series of terror attacks around Europe in the past year.

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