Ambulance service reports slight ease in demand

North East Ambulance Service lowers alert rate.
North East Ambulance Service lowers alert rate.

The swamped ambulance service has lowered its alert level following a very slight drop in demand.

Three days ago the North East Ambulance Service said it was on the highest level of alert following record calls from across the North East.

However, they have now lowered the alert from extreme pressure to severe pressue.

A spokesman for the NEAS, said: "However, we are still very busy, as is the rest of the region's hospitals."

She said patients are being urged to use the 999 service wisely and only call them in an emergency.

The Christmas and New Year period saw unprecedented levels of demand hit the service, with more than 40,000 NHS111 and more than 16,000 999 calls between December 23 and January 1.

The figures show a sharp rise from the same period last year, which saw around 28,000 NHS111 calls and 15,000 999 calls.

NEAS had to operating at level four under the national Resource Escalation Action Plan (REAP), a framework designed to maintain an effective and safe operational and clinical response for patients.

This meant that while the service attempted to operate a normal service, its response standards to potentially life-threatening calls had deteriorated.

The service now says it is operating at level three.

Members of the public should only dial 999 for medical emergencies, such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, severe loss of blood, severe burns, choking, fitting, drowning and severe allergic reactions.

If it is not an emergency, members of the public are asked to seek help from their GP, pharmacist or local walk-in centre. Anyone unsure of where to go can call NHS111. More information about the local services available, as well as links to health advice, is also available at urgentoremergency.co.uk.