Yesterday (14 December 2012) the Yorkshire Ambulance Service received an unprecedented number of calls for emergency assistance across Yorkshire and the Humber, mainly due to incidents which have occurred as a result of the extremely icy roads and pavements.
The worst-hit areas were West and South Yorkshire and the Trust had received hundreds of additional calls. Between 6am and 9am the morning ambulance staff across the region responded to 465 incidents against a predicted 190 emergencies and there were nine times the number of falls needing an emergency response (221 falls when only 25 were expected).
By 4pm in the afternoon, their staff had responded to 2,156 emergencies which exceeded the 2,050 normally received within a 24-hour period.
Dr Alison Walker, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, said:
We received hundreds of 999 calls for weather-related incidents and have been treating a lot of patients involved in road traffic collisions and injured in slips, trips and falls. These calls were in addition to other medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
Due to this unprecedented demand, we took a decision to activate our Major Incident Plan. This allowed us to put special arrangements in place to cope with the surges in demand, such as using parts of our non-emergency Patient Transport Service to assist the A&E service. In addition, we have also received additional support from neighbouring NHS ambulance services including North West Ambulance Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service and North East Ambulance Service.
Our staff across the region have been working extremely hard to respond as quickly and as safely as possible to patients needing our help and we would like to thank members of the public and patients for their understanding during this challenging time.
We would continue to ask the public only call 999 ambulance service when they think someone has a life-threatening illness or injury.
For advice and treatment for non-emergencies, the ambulance service is asking people consider options such as a visit to a local pharmacist, a call to NHS Direct, tel: 0845 46 47 or visit a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre.