Tuesday 24th June 2014 – 1.00pm – Murray MacGregor.
Ambulance bosses are bracing themselves for what could be one of the busiest weekends on record.
The concerns come after new figures showed that last weekend (Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd June 2014) was the third busiest since the Trust was set up in 2006. The only weekends that have been busier were when the region was blanketed in a thick layer of snow.
Over the three days, the Trust responded to 8,432 incidents. That is 14.6% more than the previous year which accounted for 7,358.
What is causing the ambulance service most concern though, is that demand has been rising rapidly for over two months; at a rate that is far above what would have been expected.
Worse, this weekend will see a combination of June’s pay day, potentially good weather and it historically being a very busy weekend combine to create what could be another very tough weekend responding to calls.
Acting Emergency Services Director, Nathan Hudson, said: “Our staff are working incredibly hard to respond to calls with many coming in on their days off to provide additional ambulance crews so that we can deal with the demand.
“However, we want the public to play their part too. We would urge everyone to ‘Choose Well’ and make sure that they use the most appropriate part of the NHS to access the treatment and advice that they need for their condition.
“We will be doing everything possible to continue performing above the national standards, but we would urge the public to play their part in ensuring we can get to the most seriously ill people in the shortest possible time.”
Head of Performance, John Wright, added: “When we look at the types of calls that we have received over the last few weeks, we see lots that are less serious .
“Before dialling 999, take a moment to consider whether you actually need an ambulance. Is your condition life threatening such as a stroke, heart attack, serious blood loss, an unconscious patient or choking?
“If not, would another part of the NHS be better suited to your requirements such as self-care, a pharmacist, a walk-in-centre / minor injuries unit, using a GP (in hours or out of hours) or dialling NHS 111?”
Head of Performance, John Wright, looks ahead to the weekend:
Mr Wright explains what the public should do: