South Western Ambulance Service declares a critical incident

South Western Ambulance Service has declared a critical incident due to “extreme pressures” affecting the trust’s ability to respond to patients after the Christmas holidays.

As of 11:30am Wednesday, 482 patients were awaiting ambulances across the South West, with 106 patients awaiting delivery to hospitals across the region.

The incident follows the same statement from the North East Ambulance Service on Tuesday due to “unprecedented” pressure after the holidays.

The North East Ambulance Trust has declared a critical incident for the second time in nine days due to significant delays for more than 100 patients waiting for an ambulance, as well as a reduction in the willingness of ambulance staff to respond due to the delays in the delivery of patients to hospitals in the region.

Critical incident status means that ambulance trusts cannot provide normal critical services and patients may suffer harm.

Wayne Darch, Deputy Director of Operations for South Western Ambulance Service, said: “Please help us help the patients who need us most by only calling 999 if a patient has a life-threatening condition or disease.

“If a patient’s condition is not life-threatening, we can refer them to an alternative service. So help us by accessing the right service for the care you need.

“We are doing everything we can to manage these winter pressures and regret that we are unable to respond to some patients as quickly as we would like. We will reach you as soon as possible.

“Please do not call back simply to ask for an ambulance’s estimated time of arrival. We can’t provide one and it blocks our lines for other callers.

It comes after most ambulance services in England declared critical incidents last week before the strikes and Christmas season.

The GMB union announced in early December that more than 10,000 ambulance operators in nine trusts in England and Wales would leave on 21 and 28 December.

The union has postponed and rescheduled the planned industrial action from Wednesday 28 December to 11 January next year as a “thank you to the public” for their “incredible support”, according to a GMB statement.

Hospital Trusts in England also declared critical incidents on Wednesday.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust said they had seen “enormous pressure” on its services and had to declare a critical incident due to “exceptionally large numbers” of patients waiting for treatment in its emergency departments.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trusts said they took the same action after seeing “record numbers” of patients in emergency rooms, calling 999 and 111 and accessing GP services.

Many ambulance services and hospital trusts across the UK have been urging members of the public on their websites and Twitter to dial 999 only for ‘threatening’ emergencies and have encouraged people to dial 111, contact their doctor family or visit local pharmacists.

The East of England Ambulance Service declared a going concern incident to handle “extreme demand”.

The trust reported the incident on Wednesday evening, for the second time this month, due to high call volumes and ambulance delays outside hospitals.

He also called a critical incident between December 19 and 21. Declaring a business continuity incident ensures that resources are focused on patients with the greatest needs and increases access to broader support from health and care partners.

It means the service can ask NHS colleagues to prioritize the release of their crews, can prioritize the sickest patients and those unable to make their own way to hospital, and can cancel some meetings, training and assessments of the personal.

In a statement on its website, the trust said: “Our staff continue to work incredibly hard under difficult circumstances, to respond to calls and incidents as quickly as possible.

“If you need to contact us because of a life-threatening condition or serious injury, please dial 999. For everything else, we encourage you to use 111 online, speak to your GP or use an injury centre. minors”.

On Twitter, the ambulance service said it was under “extreme pressure” after announcing elevated status.

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