North West Ambulance Service staff have just had one of their busiest Christmases ever, with thousands of incidents responded to over the last few days.
The Trust answered 4,111 emergency calls and attended 3,178 incidents on Christmas Day alone and this figure has increased on subsequent days, and health chiefs have apologised for delays faced by some patients.
Director of Operations, Ged Blezard said: “This Christmas has been one of our busiest ever and there are no indications that activity is going to reduce as we head towards New Year’s Eve – traditionally always our busiest day. On December 27 we were astounded to see that our control staff had answered 5,491 emergency calls and we know that not all of these required an emergency ambulance response.
“Unfortunately, there have been some patients who have been waiting longer than we would like but I want to assure the public that we are doing the very best we can to reach people as quickly as possible, but if your condition is not urgent, you will wait some time for a response or be given advice on other healthcare options.
“The sudden cold snap currently being experienced in the region is also likely to increase activity as those with heart and lung conditions need our help.
“Add to this, ice on the roads means treacherous driving conditions,bringing about an increase in road traffic collisions and also slows down ambulances as they can’t travel as quickly as usual.
“Ambulances must be kept free for those in urgent or life-threatening conditions and should not be used as a quick route into hospital. Between December 23 and 27,”
NWAS call centres received the following calls. Ambulances were not despatched and callers were advised on seeking help elsewhere:
Cracked tooth; constipation;had cold symptoms for a week; sinus infection; sore throat and a cough, only started in the morning; need a repeat prescription; can’t stop hiccupping; swallowed toothpaste the day before, got stomach ache now; chipped tooth.