Ambulance service sees calls increase by a third

Joseph Bulmer

AS the treacherous weather conditions continue across the region the South Western Ambulance Service is dealing with a 30% increase in calls.

Control rooms based at headquarters in Exeter and St Leonards in Dorset are handling over 1,500 calls every 24 hours, with staff working hard to keep services running as close to normal as possible in the challenging conditions.

Trust chief executive Ken Wenman said: “I would like to sincerely thank all our staff for their commitment and dedication to reaching and treating patients as quickly and safely as possible during this difficult time.

“Obviously the Trust is well prepared for dealing with situations like this and there are existing plans in place to deal with the challenging circumstances which occur as a result of the bad weather we have been experiencing. It does mean however that our personnel have to often go that extra mile in order to continue providing what to many of our callers is quite literally a lifeline.

“I would also like to acknowledge many local businesses, members of the public and a variety of voluntary and partner agencies, who have given us valuable help and assistance - thank you.”

As temperatures continue to plummet the ambulance service reinforces its message to the public to stay safe and only make essential journeys, as well as choosing well when it comes to accessing health services. Examples include visiting minor injury units for less serious conditions, or visiting a GP or pharmacist.

NHS Direct is also available for over the phone health advice 0845 46 47.