South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS
Foundation Trust is facing significant demand currently which is
affecting its ability to respond quickly to 999 emergencies.

The Trust, which has seen a 10 per cent
increase in demand compared to last year, is calling on the public
to think carefully about whether they need to call for an ambulance
or whether they can seek alternative assistance from other
healthcare providers.

The Trust’s on call Strategic Incident
Commander, Richard Webber said: “We are currently receiving a high
volume of emergency 999 calls which we are struggling to reach in a
timely manner.

“This means that for certain emergencies, some
patients can expect to wait longer for an ambulance as we focus our
efforts on responding to calls which are deemed

“The public can help us by avoid calling us
for non-life-threatening emergencies and seek alternative treatment
from other healthcare providers or if you do require hospital
treatment look to make your own way there.”

We’d like to remind people to only dial 999 in
the event of a serious emergency and remember the other options
available, such as calling NHS 111, which we run in partnership
across Kent, Surrey and Sussex with Care UK.

When to call 999:

If you think a patient is suffering from one
of the following you must dial 999 for an

·         heart attack
(e.g. chest pain for more than 15 minutes)

·         sudden
unexplained shortness of breath

·         heavy

·         unconsciousness
(even if the patient has regained consciousness)

·         traumatic
back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance

·         you think the
patient’s illness or injury is life-threatening

·         you think the
illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the
way to the hospital

·         moving the
patient/s without skilled people could cause further injury

·         the patient needs
the skills or equipment of the ambulance service and its