12 December 2019
An appeal has been issued to Yorkshire’s residents to help safeguard the region’s ambulance service for those in need of time-critical life-saving help over the busy festive period.
On Wednesday 11 December 2019 we launched our #ChristmasWish campaign which features messages from staff about how the public can help to ease pressures on the service which is facing unprecedented demand this winter.
Over the three-week Christmas period, from 16 December, the Trust predicts that it will deal with more than 70,000 calls. On the busiest days – Friday 20 and Saturday 28 December and Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 January – the service expects to receive an average of one 999 call every 30 seconds.
While there are a range of measures in place to help cope with the surge in demand, members of the public have a key role to play to ensure they use the service responsibly.
Staff in A&E Operations, the Emergency Operations Centre and NHS 111 feature in a series of videos talking about their #ChristmasWish, including:
- treating staff with respect while they are carrying out their job
- safeguarding 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies
- signposting patients with less serious illnesses and injuries to more appropriate healthcare providers such as pharmacist, GP, urgent care centre or NHS 111
- drinking responsibly
- talking to someone you trust if you are suffering with your mental health
- having a well-stocked medicine cabinet to deal with minor ailments and injuries
- ensuring you get your repeat prescriptions well in advance of the festive break.
Nick Smith, Director of Operations for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “Alongside all other UK ambulance services, we have seen a significant increase in demand since October and this has been building into November and December, including more serious types of calls often related to breathing problems in the young and elderly.
“We are currently planning for a further increase of 10% across the festive period which means we will have over 300 ambulances in operation on specific days and are taking numerous other measures. However, we need the public to know when to call 999 and when another NHS service is more appropriate. If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should call 999 immediately. If not, please consider other options.”
Genuine 999 calls include chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe loss of blood, severe burns and scalds, choking, fitting/convulsions, drowning, severe allergic reaction, heart attack, stroke and major trauma such as a serious road traffic accident, stabbing, shooting, fall from height or a serious head injury.
For other illnesses and injuries, consider other more appropriate healthcare services such as:
- Visit the NHS website www.nhs.uk
- Call NHS 111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk
- Urgent treatment centre (urgent care/walk-in centre)
- Minor injuries unit
- Make your own way to your local A&E.
Actions being taken by for Yorkshire Ambulance Service to ease winter pressures include:
- Completing planned recruitment and training by early December - there are now more frontline ambulance staff than ever before
- Using a forecasting model to plan the number of ambulance crews required based on anticipated demand which enables a more efficient use of resources
- Additional crews from our Patient Transport Service and St John Ambulance to support hospital discharges, low acuity work and hospital transfers
- Supporting the St John Ambulance Treatment Centre in Leeds city centre at weekends
- Maximising overtime to meet specific peaks in demand
- Extra 4x4 vehicles in the event of bad weather to support emergency calls and essential non-emergency journeys to take patients for dialysis and cancer treatment
- Additional call-takers in NHS 111 to meet expected demand increases
- Extra clinical advisors in the 999 and NHS 111 call centres to ensure patients get the most appropriate response for their need, freeing up ambulances for the most serious calls.
You can watch the #ChristmasWish videos below.
Produced by: Corporate Communications Department