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Yorkshire Ambulance Service thanks staff after Life-threatening Incidents increase by 30% and NHS 111 sees a 54% increase in demand

30 December 2014

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is thanking its staff after a weekend of unprecedented demand saw incidents for the most seriously ill or injured rise of almost 30% over the Christmas weekend.

As well as this significant increase in life-threatening emergencies, the Trust also received a huge 56% increase in calls to NHS 111 with a total of almost 20,000 calls coming in over 27th and 28th December.

Dr David Macklin, Executive Director of Operations at the Trust, said, “Our staff and volunteers across all areas have been brilliant over the extended Christmas period. Snow and icy conditions on top of increased demand for our most urgent calls has meant that they have had to work above and beyond their normal hours, often without breaks.

“We have had to strictly prioritise our calls to ensure that the people who most needed our help received it. This has meant that some people have not got the response they expected or wanted but I am sure they will understand that patients with life-threatening illnesses and serious injuries should be cared for first.

“This increase in demand to 999 is unlikely to fall over the New Year period and whilst we do not want to deter people from calling 999 in serious cases such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or stroke, we do need people to think very carefully about their options and consider whether they really need an ambulance or there is another option available to them.

“Our level of calls to NHS 111 also increased dramatically and we would encourage people to also use this service responsibly for urgent (not emergency) medical problems, where you can’t wait for your GP or don’t know what to do.”

Key facts

  • Whilst total demand for our 999 service on December 27th and 28th was up around 4.5% on last year, the number of incidents for people with a potentially life-threatening illness or injury increased by almost 30%.
  • On December 27th and 28th we responded to a total of 4,082 999 incidents with over half (2,095) of these being categorised as immediately life-threatening.
  • NHS 111 received 19,638 calls over the same period, an increase of 7,092 calls on the same period in 2013.
  • NHS 111 experienced a 90% increase in calls on Boxing Day.
  • Additional staff were called in over the weekend to deal with the increase in demand and the Trust invoked some emergency procedures to deal with the demand.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department