Welsh Ambulance Service declares ‘critical incident’ and pleads public not to call 999 unless it’s life-threatening

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The Welsh Ambulance service has declared a critical incident and asked the public to ‘please work with us’ because of a high level of demand in South Wales.

The trust is asking people only to call 999 for serious and life threatening emergencies due to a surge of calls in South East Wales.

They say that due to the demand, some patients may wait longer for help, while others could be advised to make alternative arrangements if their call is not life-threatening.

This includes making their own way to hospital if necessary.

The trust is advising those with less serious illnesses to visit the NHS 111 Wales website or consult a GP, pharmacist, dentist or optician.

Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “There are actions underway to deal with this demand, but we really need the public to work with us on this.

“Please only call 999 if it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency – I’m talking cardiac arrest, chest pain or breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, choking, catastrophic bleeding, etc.

“If it’s less serious, then we need you to think about the alternatives available to you, including using our 111 Wales online symptom checkers or seeking advice from your GP or pharmacist.

“As always, we’ll be dealing with patients in order of clinical priority, so the sickest patients will be seen first.

“If your call is less urgent, you may wait longer for help, or be asked to make an alternative arrangement, including making your own way to hospital if necessary.

“We’re hopeful that the actions we’ve put in place will start to take effect in the next couple of hours, but until then, help us help you and only call us if it’s a genuine emergency.”

The 111 number for less-serious emergencies is available in the Powys, Hywel Dda, Aneurin Bevan, Cwm Taf and Swansea Bay health board areas and across Wales for Covid-related queries.

People in the Betsi Cadwaladr and Cardiff and Vale areas can call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 with general health queries.



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