Performance & Winter Planning

Think before you dial 999 


Over the last few months the number of 999 calls received has reached levels the Trust hasn’t experienced before, especially in the summer time.  Since early May, 999 activity has increased and has remained very high each month since. 

When comparing this year to last we have seen a 9.0% increase in 999 calls which has been translated to an overall 4.0% increase in all types of emergency incidents we attend.  We are seeing a 9.5% increase in patients categorised as Red 1 and Red 2 when comparing with last year.  The activity in October has continued at a high level.




Red   1 (8 minutes)

Red   2 (8 minutes)


August – Sept 2014




The 111 service is also seeing call volume increases, some of which are passed through for a 999 response.

To manage the increased 999 demand we have: 

  • Increased recruitment - we have recruited more than 370 staff, many of which are either in place or will be in place over this next couple of months.
  • Increased the staffing on the Urgent Care Desks (UCD).  We are helping more 999 patients seek alternative care pathways when this is more appropriate for their needs, rather than providing an ambulance response.
  • Brought forward the vehicle replacement programme to ensure the vehicle capacity meets the increased staffing levels.
  • Increased the number of Voluntary Ambulance Service vehicles and other provider support to help at present time and in the months to come.
  • Provided a range of communications to inform the public of alternatives available other than calling 999.
  • Worked with our commissioners to try to gain an understanding of the causes of the increase in 999 demand.
  • Implemented a Critical Incident Manager role within the Emergency Operations Centres to help identify patients at risk when calls are waiting.
  • Maximise the number of staff available to help patients by rescheduling training and non-essential meetings.
  • Increased the level of clinical support within the Emergency Operation Centres. 

To support the Trust with the winter plan, the communications team has also produced a plan to address the increased in demand.  The objectives are:

  • To provide staff, volunteers and the public with health and wellbeing advice
  • To inform the public about making the right choices to access care if they are unwell, especially when to call 999 and when to use other services such as 111
  • To encourage staff and relevant groups to have the flu vaccination
  • To educate the public on how ambulance services manages and respond to 999 calls
  • To recognise the challenges faced by staff and volunteers during periods of high demand and the contribution they are making to maintaining levels of service, and support them in this.