London Ambulance Service is asking people to use its services wisely this weekend as it prepares for a busy bank holiday.
This August could be the busiest one ever for the Service and the high demand is expected to continue this weekend, when London Ambulance Service will be putting extra resources out on the roads and in its control rooms.
Since the start of the summer the Service has been consistently receiving more than 6,000 999 calls every day, and on some busier days that has risen to more than 7,000 calls. Before the pandemic, a usual busy day would be around 5,500 calls.
A number of factors are thought contributing to this demand – including increased COVID-19 transmission in the community, more people being out and about as lockdown restrictions eased, and more people coming in and out of London.
Brian Jordan, London Ambulance Service’s Deputy Director of Ambulance Services and ‘Gold’ Commander this weekend, said: ‘As we approach the bank holiday weekend, which is traditionally busy in a normal year, we’re expecting to see high demand – similar to what we would see on New Year’s Eve.
‘It has been our busiest summer ever, and I’d like to thank all of our staff and volunteers for their incredible efforts and for working so hard in such challenging circumstances.
‘We’re doing all we can to ensure Londoners who need us get help as quickly as possible. The public can help us by being sensible this weekend, and only calling 999 if it’s a serious medical emergency and if someone’s life is at risk.
‘London Ambulance Service is asking people to visit NHS 111 online first if they need medical help that is not an emergency. There, they will be asked a series of questions and be guided on what to do next.
People are also asked to bear in mind that if they call 999, but it’s not a life-threatening emergency, they will be waiting longer for an ambulance as control room teams and ambulance crews speak to and treat the most seriously ill or injured patients.
If you no longer need an ambulance, or you can make your own way to hospital, you should call back on 999 to let the Service know. Crews can then be redirected to another patient who needs us.
However, people are asked not to ring back to ask how long crews will be as this could delay our call takers speaking to someone about a seriously ill or injured patient. You should only call back if the patient’s condition worsens, or they no longer need help.
To find out more about NHS services in London over the bank holiday weekend, click here.