23 May 2012
Londoners are being urged to think carefully before
dialling 999, after the ambulance service yesterday experienced its
busiest ever weekday (22 May).
London Ambulance Service staff responded to
1,345 seriously ill and injured patients yesterday - 29 per cent
higher than the previous Tuesday. Apart from New Year’s Day,
yesterday was the busiest weekday on record.
Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer John Pooley
said: “We’ve seen an unprecedented increase in demand from patients
suffering potentially life-threatening conditions, such as chest
pain and difficulty in breathing.
“Many of these conditions are exacerbated by
warmer weather and it may be possible that the sudden change in
temperature is having an impact on Londoners.”
As well as critically ill and injured
patients, the Service also responded to nearly 4,000 other calls to
patients with less serious illnesses and injuries.
As temperatures remain warmer, ambulance
chiefs are urging patients with less serious conditions to consider
other healthcare options first, so that frontline staff can
continue to reach seriously ill and injured patients quickly.
John said: “To ensure that an ambulance is
available for those who need us most, as ever, I would urge
Londoners with less serious illnesses such as sore throats, skin
complaints, earaches or minor injuries – to consider other
healthcare providers in the community, for example your local
pharmacy or walk-in centre, or calling NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
“We would advise anyone with heart conditions
or pre-existing breathing difficulties to make sure they’ve got
their medication with them at all times – especially if they’re out
“Those calling 999 for an ambulance with
less serious conditions may have to wait longer for an ambulance as
we prioritise our critically ill and injured patients.
“People should remember that you don’t get
seen any quicker by arriving at A&E in an ambulance.”
In warmer temperatures you should:
- Carry a bottle of water with you
- Ensure you’ve got your medication with you
if you have a pre-existing condition linked to breathing
difficulties (asthma / hayfever) or a heart condition.
- Ends -
Notes to editors:
- Yesterday we recevied 5,310 emergency calls into our control
- Of these 1,345 were Category A - our highest priority call
- The biggest increase in calls was to respiratory and cardiac
- Our busiest hour was between 7pm and 8pm when we received 363
- For more information about this news release call the
communications department on 020 7783 2286
- Find out more about the London Ambulance Service at http://www.londonambulance.nhs.uk/
or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ldn_ambulance