ambulance

Ambulance services swamped with highest-ever number of calls

LOCAL ambulance services have just experienced their busiest week on record – for the second time this month.

Now the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is urging people to use its service sensibly.

SWASFT responded to 23,088 incidents during the seven days up until Sunday, which is equivalent to one incident every 26 seconds.

Sunday was the busiest day recorded in Trust history with 3,522 incidents, and Saturday was the third busiest with 3,443 incidents. The second busiest was New Year’s Day in 2018. Sunday’s figure corresponds to 147 incidents every hour, and more than two incidents per minute.

Last week’s total figure exceeded the previous record of 22,050 incidents during the seven days to July 4. Incident numbers were 30% higher than those recorded on the equivalent week two years ago.

Ahead of what is expected to be a very busy school summer holiday period in the South West, SWASFT says it must continue to prioritise speaking to and treating the most seriously injured and unwell patients.

To allow it to prioritise patients effectively, the Trust is asking everyone who uses its service to do so sensibly. People should only to call 999 in a genuine, life-threatening emergency, for example:

  • Chest pain / breathing difficulties / heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Severe bleeding
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns or scalds
  • Serious head injuries
  • Major trauma such as a road traffic accident or a fall from height.

They should not ring back to ask for an estimated arrival time, and should only call back if the patient’s condition worsens or they no longer need an ambulance.

Ceri Smart, SWASFT Assistant Director of Operations – Resource Management, said: “Our service is continuing to experience an unprecedented high level of demand, and we have just had two of our three busiest days in our history.

“We are calling on the public to support us in protecting the NHS, so we can continue to save lives. Please help us, to help you, by only calling 999 in a genuine life-threatening emergency, and do not call back for an estimated arrival time. For other medical concerns, do contact NHS 111 for advice and support.

“Our people are working incredibly hard, 24/7, to ensure we are there for the people across the South West who need us most.”

The Trust is also encouraging people to look after themselves and others during this period of very warm and dry weather. They are advised to drink plenty of water, limit their exposure to direct sunlight, and check on those who are vulnerable.

People going out on daytrips or visiting the region are asked to take their regular medication, as well as essentials such as sunscreen, antiseptic remedies and paracetamol.

Copyright © 2019 Sedgemoor Apple