At lunch time today, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) was able to stand down the Critical Incident status that had been in place since Monday afternoon (19 December).
Having seen a reduction in call volumes to the Trust’s emergency 999 and NHS 111 services during the period of industrial action taken on Wednesday (21 December), the demand on both services – though remaining high – has not returned to the levels that necessitated the move to Critical Incident status earlier this week.
Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at SCAS, said:
“I would like to thank the public for taking on board the need to only call 999 in life-threatening or serious emergencies requiring our immediate assistance during the day of industrial action. We have started to see call numbers rise slowly again and I would therefore re-iterate that message, especially with the busy Christmas and New Year period almost open us.
“Our staff, volunteers and partners have worked incredibly hard across all our services to be able to get us through this week and allow us to stand down from our Critical Incident. To ensure our control room teams and emergency responders will be there this Christmas for patients where it is a life or death emergency, please keep using 999 appropriately as many people did earlier this week.
“Our NHS 111 call handlers and clinicians have also been dealing with unprecedented demand recently and I would like to remind the public that local pharmacies will be open over the festive period, along with urgent treatment centres for minor injuries and illnesses, and 111 online can be accessed 24/7 if your GP surgery is closed. There is also a wealth of trusted NHS information available online and via the NHS App that you can use to help manage minor illnesses at home through self-care or be directed to the most appropriate, local non-emergency service you need.”
NHS 111 online is available 24/7 at 111.nhs.uk
Find your nearest urgent care centre here: nhs.uk/Service-Search/other-services/Urgent%20Care/LocationSearch/0
Download the NHS App here: nhs.uk/nhs-app/