South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is
asking for the public’s support as demand for its service and the
NHS across the region as a whole remains extremely high.

With ambulance service demand approximately 13 per cent higher
than expected at this time of year, the service is taking longer to
reach some calls and is reminding the public that 999 should be
reserved for use in an emergency only.

Over 24 hours yesterday (Saturday 2 April), crews across Kent,
Surrey and Sussex responded to more than 2,100 incidents – a
similar level to the busy Easter Saturday experienced by control
room and frontline crews last week.

Control room staff, ambulance crews and volunteer community
first responder teams are working flat out to reach patients as
quickly as possible and prioritising life-threatening

The NHS as a whole is also very busy and the Trust is working
closely with hospitals across its region to minimise delays when
patients are handed over at A&E. It is vital patients are
handed over without delay so that ambulance crews are free to
respond to 999 calls out in the community.

SECAmb Paramedic and Head of Resilience & Specialist
Operations Andy Cashman said: “The demand the service is facing is
currently very high and it is taking us longer that we would like
to respond to calls. Everyone is working extremely hard to reach
patients who need our help as quickly as possible.

“We need the public to remember that 999 should only be used in
an emergency. Anyone faced with a medical emergency shouldn’t
hesitate to call but we would urge anyone else who needs help to
consider all the other options available to them. This might be
dialling NHS111 for help, where staff can provide support and
advice over the phone and refer patient to out-of-hours services
where appropriate.”

When to call 999:

 If you think a patient is suffering from one of the
following you must dial 999 for an ambulance:
• heart attack (e.g. chest pain for more than 15
• sudden unexplained shortness of breath
• heavy bleeding
• unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained
• traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

 You should also call for an ambulance if: 
• you think the patient’s illness or injury is
• 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 personnel
• traffic conditions could cause a delay in getting the person
to hospital and time could be critical