The London Ambulance Service experienced its second busiest day ever on New Year’s Day but is “coping” with the second wave of coronavirus.

Chief Executive Garrett Emmerson told LBC the service is under “incredible pressure”, receiving between 7,500 and 8,000 calls a day.

The 999 service is 50 per cent busier than it would be in its winter peak, while the service is receiving twice as many 111 calls than it would normally.

Mr Emmerson told LBC's Tom Swarbrick: "It's been incredibly busy - Boxing Day was our second busiest day ever and in fact we've surpassed that now, because New Year's Day was even busier than that.

"We're busier than we've ever been, frankly, both in our 999 services and indeed 111.

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"My staff and volunteers are doing an incredible job out there every day, working probably harder than they've ever had to work before.

"We are managing to cope, it's really tough but we are managing to cope at the moment."He continued: "It's continuing to be at that level of 7,500 to 8,000 calls every day, so it's the sustained pressure that I think is different.

"In the spring, we saw those kind of numbers, or a little below those numbers, but for a very short period.

"We know this time because it's the winter, rather than the spring, it's likely to be more sustained.

"So we're working with the whole health system in London, working with the hospitals, the acute sector, the primary care sector, to make sure we've got as many pathways open to patients and ways of treating patients and making sure that, difficult as it is at hospitals at the moment, we're doing everything we can to smooth the flow of patients into hospitals."

Mr Emmerson said it was "absolutely the message" that the NHS is "open for business", adding: "Although we're under incredible pressure, we're here for people when they need us most and it's important that people do ring us if they get into a seriously unwell situation and feel they're unable to.

"It's about using NHS services sensibly and wisely, using 111 as well as 999, using 111 online, using the wider GP network and primary care system, and then we will make sure we're there for Londoners when they need us."