13th February 2018
There is a warning that vital ambulance services are being taken up by people who want to be seen quicker in A&E.
The North West Ambulance service says they have had an increase in people openly admitting using them as a taxi service.
One woman in the region recently even complained when she had to sit in a waiting room with other patients after using an ambulance. She even asked for ANOTHER ambulance to be sent out to her so she could be seen straight away.
Ambulance crews are now issuing flyers to patients which contain health information such as where and when to get help when feeling unwell and a reminder that going to hospital by ambulance does is not mean they will jump the queue.
Ged Blezard, Director of Operations at North West Ambulance Service said: “No matter how you get to A&E, whether it’s by ambulance or not, you will be assessed and then seen in order of priority. Being asked to wait is actually a good thing; it’s when you’re rushed through that you’re having a really bad day and you’ve got a serious health concern.
“Across the five counties of the North West there are, on average, around 250 ambulances and 50 rapid response vehicles on duty at any one time. That’s not a lot when you consider that we’re helping 130 people each and every hour of the day.
“We need the public to help us by making sure they only call 999 when someone has a serious illness or injury and their life could be at risk.
“When it’s not an emergency, people can go to the NHS website, a pharmacy, GP or call NHS 111. And, if it’s safe to get to hospital by other means please do so that ambulances are free for those who need them most.”
In January 2018, North West Ambulance Service dealt with 96,141 patients and 61.75% were taken to A&E by ambulance.