SCAS has been planning for a number of weeks to reduce the impact of industrial action being taken today (15 December) elsewhere in local NHS services by the RCN.
The Trust has set up a virtual control and command centre and placed additional staff in local hospitals where industrial action is taking place. This is designed to help support our hospital colleagues, ambulance crews and patients to ensure those who require urgent and emergency hospital care will continue to get responsive and high-quality care.
As you are no doubt aware, the NHS as a whole is under significant pressure and our emergency 999 service is no different. We continue to urge people to only call 999 in a life-threatening or serious emergency. Patients who may require an ambulance response where it is not time-critical or serious may, at times, face a longer wait for a response than the national target times of two or three hours. We would ask for your patience if this happens today and only call us back if the patient’s condition worsens.
Our NHS 111 team is also facing a significant increase in demand and if you are waiting to speak to a health advisor, please do not to hang up and call 999 unless their condition worsens and they need immediate attention. We understand that waiting to speak to someone may be frustrating or upsetting if you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, but our health advisors are working as quickly as they can to answer calls to 111.
You can go online and use 111.nhs.uk 24/7 and, if needed, a healthcare professional will call you back – though this may take longer than usual due to current high levels of demand.
Pharmacists, your local GP, urgent treatment centres and the NHS App are all available and can advise on a range of minor illnesses and injuries, provide advice on managing symptoms and getting repeat prescriptions.”