An appeal has been made by Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, for people to only call 999 in emergencies after it emerged that the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is receiving call volumes that are exceeding pre-pandemic New Year Eve levels.
As a result of this rise in demand NEAS has announced an escalation to REAP (Resource Escalation Action Plan) 4 – Extreme Pressure, which will help the service respond in an appropriate and effective way. Everyone who needs an ambulance will get one – but patients will be prioritised on severity of the injury or illness.
To support this, Alex is supporting calls by NEAS for callers to consider their options before calling 999 – which should be used for emergencies only. For non-emergency situations people should call 111. They can check 111.nhs.uk for support in making the correct decision on which number to call.
“Whether in normal times or throughout the pandemic, the North East Ambulance Service and everyone involved is working incredibly hard to get medical support to those in needs. To help them do their job to the best of their abilities, I’m urging everyone to only call the 999 number in emergencies. NHS 111 is there to support people in non-emergency situations, and to help them make an informed decision on the care someone might need.”
Alex also criticised the Government for lack of adequate funding for the service, saying:
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the service is facing these challenges as a result of a decade of Tory funding cuts and austerity. Our ambulance service, alongside their colleagues across the emergency services, work incredibly hard to support our communities – but it’s clear to me they need more resources. The Government needs to stump up the cash and support our emergency services.”