Yorkshire Ambulance Service had its busiest-ever weekend for dealing with seriously-ill and injured patients as thousands of emergency calls came in.
On Friday, December 12, it responded to 2,152 incidents, of which 1,046 were prioritised as ‘Red’ - the most serious level of illness or injury.
On Saturday, 1,098 calls from 2,150 were classified as ‘Red’, with a further 1,001 such incidents on Sunday, when a total 2,042 calls were received.
The trust said today that ‘Red’ incidents had accounted for around half of all incidents compared to the usual average of around 40 per cent.
Due to the unprecedented number of 999 calls being received for serious and life-threatening conditions, the trust is appealing to people across the region to only call 999 for an ambulance in an absolute emergency when it is obvious that someone needs time-critical assistance.
Dr David Macklin, executive director of operations at the trust, said: “We are currently receiving hundreds of 999 calls every day to patients with breathing difficulties and other serious conditions. We really need people to use our emergency service wisely so that we keep ambulances available for those patients who need life-saving help.
“Whilst many people do use our emergency service appropriately, some callers could be helped by other more appropriate healthcare services.
“Anyone needing advice and treatment for non-emergencies should consider options such as contacting a local pharmacist or GP surgery, a call to NHS 111 or visit an urgent care centre. In addition, the NHS Choices website provides helpful information and advice on many common conditions, treatments and local services.”
It comes after the trust was fined more than £200,000 by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group for delays in reaching seriously-ill or injured patients in the city.
Last week, one 89-year-old woman with a broken wrist had to wait an hour for help.