10 October 2014 - National Industrial Action on Monday 13 October - Update


North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust is asking the public to consider whether their 999 call on Monday 13 October is really necessary, and to assist in helping their communities by only calling for life-threatening emergencies.

The Trust is expecting to have to operate with a substantial reduction in its workforce during the hours of 0700 and 1100, due to a national strike, and this will undoubtedly put pressure on the Service and result in delays for some patients.

Director of Operations, Derek Cartwright comments: “We would like the public to always consider if calling 999 is necessary but it is particularly important they do so on Monday morning. We want to make sure that we are able to attend to those people who really need us as quickly as possible and so need to keep free what resources we have for those.

“In line with usual procedures, we will be prioritising calls according to clinical need and those whose condition is not serious or life-threatening, will be advised to contact their GP or the 111 service or visit a walk-in centre or pharmacist.”

The Trust has negotiated with its three recognised trade unions and they have agreed that crews can attend Red 1 and Red 2 calls – these have a national target of eight minutes and are those which are or have the potential to quickly become, life-threatening.

However, a large percentage of patients who call for an ambulance can be dealt with more effectively in their local community by their GP, 111 or an Out of Hours Service. Real emergencies are considered to be, for example, when someone has chest pain, difficulty in breathing, severe abdominal pain, collapsed, severe bleeding, had a serious accident or fall, or overdosed.

Derek adds: “There is no doubt that with less people and vehicles on the road than usual, some patients are going to experience longer waits for an ambulance. I’d like the public to know we are doing everything we can to ensure we can respond to as many incidents as possible, but we urgently need their help and support.”