Londoners are asked to use their ambulance service wisely following heavy snow

02 February 2009

Londoners are being urged to use their ambulance service wisely and only call 999 for life-threatening emergencies after heavy snowfall in the capital today.

The extreme weather has put the London Ambulance Service under severe pressure, with more than 2,200 calls received between midnight and midday today – compared to less than 1,500 in the same period last Monday.

The combination of this and difficult driving conditions has meant the Service has taken the decision to only respond to life-threatening calls. The number of these has also been much higher than normal, with more than 400 responded to up to midday.

Callers with less serious conditions are being offered advice on how to access care.

Acting Director of Operations Richard Webber said: “The extreme weather has placed the London Ambulance Service under severe pressure today and our priority is to get to those patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries as quickly as possible.

“Due to current levels of demand, we will, until further notice, only be sending ambulances to patients across the capital with life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

“We would urge Londoners to use their ambulance service wisely and only call 999 in the event of a life-threatening emergency.

“Those people whose call is not an emergency should consider other healthcare options, including self-care at home and calling NHS Direct on 0845 4647, rather than dialling 999.”


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