News : Plea to Only Call 999 in a Real Emergency
Dec 14, 2014 -- Ambulance chiefs are continuing their plea to people to only dial 999 in a real emergency after receiving an ‘unprecedented’ number of calls.
On Saturday afternoon, bosses at the North West Ambulance Service issued an urgent message saying the service was under ‘extreme pressure’ from the volume of 999 calls and incidents it was attending.
The trust says it recently had its busiest ever week since its formation in 2006.
Bosses say pressure is more severe than usual times of harsh weather and that they are expecting the trend to continue into the festive season, following a busy weekend.
Next weekend, beginning with Mad Friday, is expected to be a particularly busy hectic time for paramedics.
Every year, thousands of people flood into Manchester city centre for Christmas parties, with police and the ambulance service at full-stretch.
And things are expected to remain busy through until New Year.
Despite Saturday’s plea, calls didn’t let up over the weekend, with the message remaining the same from ambulance chiefs - only dial 999 in a real emergency.
Last week, the trust saw an extra 2,152 calls - a 9.6 % increase. That represented 307 extra 999 calls a day.
Those calls included 1,137 ‘red’ incidents, the most serious - an extra 162 per day and a 14.5 % increase compared to the same period last year.
Call centre staff are taking more calls a day than they ever have before.
The trust is moving to a daily 999 call volume of 4,000.
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People are being urged to drive themselves to A&E, take care of themselves at home, talk to a pharmacist or GP or visit an NHS walk-in or Urgent Care centre.
Director of operations Derek Cartwright said: "The call volume we are currently experiencing is unprecedented and our crews are working extremely hard to reach those who urgently need our help as quickly as possible.
"Because of the rise in activity, it is more important that we triage our calls thoroughly and there is no doubt that those without life-threatening or potentially life-threatening conditions will find themselves waiting sometime for an ambulance response or be advised to seek alternatives."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About North West Ambulance Service :
The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the second largest ambulance service in the country, providing 24 hour, 365 days a year accident and emergency services to those in need of emergency medical treatment and transport.
Published: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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