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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Wokingham

SCAS declares critical incident

Due to extreme pressures across its services which escalated over the weekend South Central Ambulance Service has declared a critical incident on 20th December 2022.

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The latest data shows 999 calls are up 50% on this time last year and NHS 111 calls up 75% over the same period.

This is combined with challenges of ambulances being unable to handover the care of their patients at some acute hospitals which prevents crews getting back on the road to respond to other patients. People are being asked to only call 999 for life-threatening emergencies and to use NHS 111 online for urgent medical advice (111.nhs.uk) wherever possible and appropriate to do so. This will direct people to the most appropriate service – including alternative options such as pharmacies, GPs and urgent treatment centres.

The industrial action planned for 21 and 28 December may add further pressure. However, the impact at SCAS is expected mainly on non-emergency patient transport service. More information can be found, here.


Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at SCAS, said:

“Last week was an extremely difficult week, which has only escalated over the course of the weekend and into this week, leading to us declaring a critical incident. “I am extremely proud of how hard our staff and volunteers are working to meet the demand. We have implemented a range of measures to help us manage the significantly increased level of activity we are seeing. “This has included bringing in additional staff to put more vehicles on the road, increasing the number of call takers working both on site and remotely and providing more clinical support and advice by phone for those patients not suffering life-threatening emergencies.”

Read more about this news incident on South Central Ambulance Service’s website.

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