Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ambulance Service in Region 'Under Severe Pressure'- NEAS Chief

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ambulance Service in Region 'Under Severe Pressure'- NEAS Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Reporter craig.thompson@ncjmedia.co.uk

AMBULANCE services in the North East are at crisis point as paramedics struggle to cope with an unprecedented number of 999 calls.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has been forced to raise its status to "severe pressure" as it battles to help those most in need.

On Monday, the trust's control room staff took an unprecedented 1,837 emergency 999 and urgent calls, comparable with the demand usually seen on New Year's Eve. This was 46% higher than the number of calls received at the same time last year.

A further 1,664 calls were taken by the trust's NHS 111 service.

In a bid to cope the Service has: Been forced to use clinically quali-|fied managers for some front line duties; Use winter resilience funds to |increase operational resources; Cancel non-essential meetings |and training.

The service has struggled to cope in recent weeks, with health bosses urging people only to contact 999 in life-threatening situations.

The Paul Liversidge, chief operating officer, said: "We are experiencing severe pressures in responding to pressure on emergency calls.

ambulance staff is reaching dangerously high "With the shortage of paramedics and the additional pressures across the wider NHS network causing delays in ambulance turnaround times at hospitals, we have taken the decision to move the service to level 3 to protect our most vulnerable patients.

levels Trevor Johnston "Please help us reach those patients who need us most by using 999 wisely. Your call could potentially delay our response to someone else who might need us more. "Please think before you pick up the phone; do you really need to go to hospital and if you do, is there anyone else who can take you? "Turning up to hospital in an ambulance does not mean you will be seen any quicker. …

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