North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has declared a major incident, due to the high levels of calls it is receiving this evening.
⚠️We’ve declared a major incident due to the high level of calls. For enquiries relating to this incident, please follow us here/our Facebook page.— North West Ambulance Service (@NWAmbulance) November 2, 2020
⚠️If your call is not life-threatening, you may be asked to seek an alternative source of care or make your way to hospital. pic.twitter.com/bEHYcKGg4e
In a statement issued earlier this evening, NWAS said “Due to the high volume of calls into our service, the trust has declared a major incident. This is being managed in accordance with our usual protocols and we are urging the public to only call us if their condition is life-threatening or potentially life-threatening.”
Another earlier tweet stated, “We are exceptionally busy this evening. Unfortunately, there will be delays and we urge you not to call back to ask how long we will be. Please only ring 999 for life threatening emergencies.
For more assistance please use 111 online at http://111.nhs.uk
The full statement reads: “Due to the high volume of calls into our service, the trust has declared a major incident. This is being managed in accordance with our usual protocols and we are urging the public to only call us if their condition is life threatening or potentially life threatening.
“Traditionally, Mondays are often a very busy day for us and we are unsure as to why we are seeing a surge today. There is currently nothing to indicate [if] this increase in calls is in relation to COVID-19. We are putting in place additional support throughout the North West and will be closely monitoring the situation throughout the evening.
“There are patients who are facing delays and we are very sorry that we are unable to respond as quickly as we would like. Please help us by not calling us to check where the ambulance is as we need those [phone] lines to be free for those in a life-threatening condition. However, if you feel you no longer need an ambulance, please let us know.
“Due to the actions we have implemented, such as signposting patients to other services such as 111 online and utilising additional resources, since we declared a major incident, we are starting to see a reduction in calls and would like to thank the public for their support.
“For medical advice, you can visit 111 online.”
The link for medical advice is https://111.nhs.uk/
The NWAS branch of Unison tweeted: “Please help our crews by only calling if you really need us. They are being run ragged at the moment and they will get to you as soon as they can. Please consider using 111.”
A major incident is defined as any occurrence that presents a serious threat to the health of the community or causes such numbers or types of casualties, as to require special arrangements to be implemented.
At 9.06pm NWAS released a second statement saying they had “stood down” from the major incident protocol.