December 2022 saw a 21% increase in 999 calls from the previous month, with a total of 95, 019 calls. Whilst these calls are not COVID related, the increase may be the result of compromised immune systems following a lack of exposure during lockdown as well as people generally experiencing more caution and concern around their own health and wellbeing.
SCAS response to calls is changing with 58% of demand for category 1 and 2 in 2022 in comparison to 54% in 2021 which indicates that the population is experiencing more severe and serious illness.
To find out more about categories please click here https://www.england.nhs.uk/urgent-emergency-care/improving-ambulance-services/arp/
111 calls were 63% higher in December than October (the most recent 31 day month) which is due to a peak in streptococcus A as well as an increase in caution and concern around sickness. This is a 75% increase of 111 calls compared to last year.
SCAS declared a critical incident on 19 December due to the continue high demand and large volume of calls received by 999 and 111 teams as well staffing levels and crews caring for patients at hospital unable to handover into the care of the hospital, which impacts on their ability to get back on the road. Our staff and volunteers continued to work extremely hard to respond to calls and incidents and continued to respond to patients with life-threatening injuries and illness. The critical incident was stood down on 23 December although SCAS remained at resource escalation action plan (REAP) level 4 in light of increasing pressure, until 13 January and are currently at REAP level 3, which means that we are currently under major pressure.
On 24 January, for the first time since May 2021, SCAS lowered the Trust’s Resource Escalation Action
Plan (REAP) level to Level 2 – moderate pressure – due to a reduction in 999 and 111 demand, good staffing cover across our services, and a continuation of significantly reduced handover delays at hospital which releases our crews for other patients who need us.
As part of our response plan SCAS regularly monitor demand, performance and resourcing across
999 and NHS 111 to enable us to respond to the fluctuations in demand and pressure.