Strike: Ambulances to respond only to most serious cases

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Ambulances will only be dispatched to life-threatening emergancies because of today’s strike action.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAamb) has told the Herald its capacity to deal with call-outs will be reduced, meaning only the most serious cases will be answered.

As a result the trust is calling on the public to only call 999 for an ambulance if it is absolutely necessary and where possible to seek alternative advice. People are urged to call NHS Direct on 01845 4647 or visiting www.nhs.uk.

A host of measures have been put in place to cope with the day-long strike, including making use of voluntary groups and private providers.

However, to ensure that potentially life-threatening emergencies get the response they need, some patients may have to wait longer for an ambulance response.

SECAmb’s head of clinical operations, Andy Newton said, “Clearly our main priority now is to get to those patients who need us most and therefore have taken the decision to focus our efforts on the patients with life-threatening conditions.

“Therefore, we would ask people to bear with us and where possible avoid calling us during this period of industrial action.”