December 31, 2017
Ambulance bosses issue warning amid 'extremely high demand'

Struggling ambulance bosses have this week urged residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area to think carefully before dialling 999 following a surge of calls over the festive holidays.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust - which operates the ambulance service in the Burnham-On-Sea area - says it is coping with "extremely high demand" across the region.

"This New Year we are urging people to think before they dial 999. Please only call if there is a medical emergency," Claire Warner from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust told

"Since Christmas Day and Boxing Day we have seen around 3,000 calls per day. Saturday was incredibly busy, up almost 15% on last year, and demand is expected to rise as we head into the New Year celebrations."

"Despite having as many extra staff on duty as possible and every available vehicle on the road, meeting this severe level of demand remains a significant challenge."

"Since we must prioritise our available resources to respond to the most critically ill patients, this means that some less poorly patients may experience considerable waits for a response during this very busy period."

She added: "We would like to apologise for this – please be assured that we are doing our best to reach everyone as soon as we can."

"999 should only be called for conditions including cardiac arrest, choking, severe chest pain, suspected stroke, serious blood loss and unconsciousness. This will help us reach those in serious need as soon as possible."

"This New Year we are urging people to think before they dial 999. Please only call if there is a medical emergency. Please look after yourselves and others to avoid conditions escalating to an emergency."

"Please help us to help you. The whole NHS system is under extreme pressure, so please call the correct service for your needs and please only call if you really need to."


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