South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is
continuing to experience very high levels of demand today (1
January 2017). The level of demand is affecting the service’s
ability to respond to some calls and the public are asked to think
carefully as to whether they need to call for an ambulance.

Life-threatening and serious calls are being prioritised and
control centre staff and ambulance crews are working to get to
those in the most need as quickly as possible. Patients in a
non-life threatening condition are likely to wait longer than usual
for an ambulance response and we would ask that they make
alternative arrangements such dialling NHS 111 or seeking
alternative advice so that we can focus on those who need us

Crews have so far responded to more than 1,300 incidents (up to
1.30pm on 1 January) and yesterday (31 December) attended close to
2,300 incidents up approximately 300 on last New Year’s Eve.

The Trust’s on call Gold Incident Commander, Richard Webber
said: “We are receiving a very high volume of calls and are not
reaching many of these as quickly as we would like. We are focusing
our efforts on responding to calls which are deemed

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

People are reminded 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 ambulance:
·       heart attack (e.g. chest pain
for more than 15 minutes)
·       sudden unexplained shortness
of breath
·       heavy bleeding
·       unconsciousness (even if the
patient has regained consciousness)
·       traumatic back/spinal/neck

You should also call for an ambulance if:
·       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
·       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