AN AMBULANCE trust is urging the public to use its service sensibly - after responding to more than 23,000 incidents in just one week.

Equivalent to one incident every 26 seconds, this made the seven days up to Sunday, July 18, the busiest week on record for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).

Busiest days / weeks in trust history

It has been revealed that Sunday was the busiest day recorded in trust history with 3,522 incidents, and Saturday was the third busiest with 3,443 incidents.

Despite the plea issued by the service over the weekend claiming the second busiest day was Saturday, the second busiest has now been confirmed as New Year’s Day in 2018.

Sunday’s figure corresponds to 147 incidents every hour, and more than two incidents per minute.

Read more: Ambulance service issues public plea after busy weekend

Responding to 23,088 calls, last week’s total figure exceeded the previous record of 22,050 incidents, which was recorded during the seven days up to July 4, 2021.

Incident numbers were 30 per cent higher than those recorded on the equivalent week just one fortnight ago.

'Working incredibly hard, 24/7'

Responding to the figures, Ceri Smart, SWASFT assistant director of operations - resource management, said the service is experiencing "an unprecedented high level of demand", adding that people should only call 999 if it is "a genuine life-threatening emergency".

She said: “Our service is continuing to experience an unprecedented high level of demand, and we have just had two of our three busiest days in our history.

“We are calling on the public to support us in protecting the NHS, so we can continue to save lives.

"Please help us, to help you, by only calling 999 in a genuine life-threatening emergency, and do not call back for an estimated arrival time. For other medical concerns, do contact NHS 111 for advice and support.

“Our people are working incredibly hard, 24/7, to ensure we are there for the people across the South West who need us most.”

'Genuine life-threatening emergencies'

To allow it to prioritise patients effectively, the trust is asking everyone to only call 999 in an emergency, for example:

  • Chest pain / breathing difficulties / heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Severe bleeding
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns or scalds
  • Serious head injuries
  • Major trauma such as a road traffic accident or a fall from height.

Heat wave concerns

After an amber weather warning was issued by the Met Office yesterday, July 19, Ceri added: “During this period of hot weather, do keep cool, stay hydrated and stay safe.

"If you’re out and about, please be sensible and look after yourself and those with you.”

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