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Unprecedented Demand On Ambulance Services This Winter

Unprecedented Demand On Ambulance Services This Winter

Posted July 16, 2021
Community , Health

Media Release: St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance is experiencing extremely high demand for ambulance services across the country with workload over the last week being the highest St John has ever seen.

While high demand over winter is not unusual, the current call volumes are well above what St John Ambulance would expect during this period due in part to the number of patients with viral respiratory illness, but also a general increase in other incidents. Last week the service received 1,300 more 111 calls (11% increase) and 700 more ambulance responses (7% increase) than expected for this time of year.

The increase in demand is impacting both 111 communications centres and the ability to respond emergency ambulances. Callers to 111 communications centres may experience a delay before their call is answered, and an ambulance may not be able to be sent immediately – so he public is asked to only call 111 for genuine emergencies.

On Wednesday 14 July, St John set up an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate ambulance resources at a national level, ensuring resources are moved to where the need is the highest and working with their health partners to ensure that they can effectively manage demand on the ambulance service and respond immediately to critical patients. They have already increased ambulance resourcing in main centres and are supporting communications centres with additional capacity.

If people are feeling unwell, or need health advice, they’re asked to call their regular health provider or Healthline and consider alternate methods of transport to medical facilities for non-urgent conditions. If it is an emergency, people should continue to dial 111 for an ambulance, being mindful that if their condition is not immediately life threatening, there may be a significant delay in responding an ambulance.

St John Ambulance would also like to remind people of the importance of self-care over winter, ensuring they take regular medications, and keep on top of illness before it exacerbates.

St John Ambulance