Health service braced for busiest weekend

By Ian Dipple Thursday 26 June 2014 Updated: 27/06 09:42

THE COUNTY’S Accident and Emergency departments are bracing themselves for what is feared could be the busiest weekend on record.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is already experiencing high demand this week resulting in it being placed on escalation level four, meaning it is under severe pressure.

And bosses fear a perfect storm of June’s pay day, potentially good weather and this weekend historically being busy could see 999 calls soar to record levels.

The number of calls being dealt with has risen rapidly over the last two months above expected levels and between last Friday and Sunday (June 20 and 22) the service responded to 8,432 incidents, up 14.6 per cent on last year and making it the third busiest weekend since the Trust was formed in 2006.

Normally such demand is only seen during heavy snowfall.

However only about ten per cent of calls received are life threatening emergencies and the public is being urged to ensure their need requires an ambulance before calling 999.

Nathan Hudson, acting emergency services director, said: "Our staff are working incredibly hard to respond to calls with many coming in on their days off to provide additional ambulance crews so we can deal with the demand.

"We will be doing everything possible to continue performing above the national standards, but we would urge the public to play their part in ensuring we can get to the most seriously ill people in the shortest possible time."

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is also preparing for the worst.

The Worcestershire Royal has already experienced the busiest day in its 12 year history this month when 241 people came through A&E on Sunday, June 15 the day after England played Italy in the World Cup. Emergency demand remains high with A&E attendances up seven per cent since November last year and about 1,000 additional people having been seen through departments since April.

Jane Schofield, deputy chief operating officer, said they were working closely with the rest of the health and social care system to ensure people were discharged efficiently so beds were available to admit people.

"We are reviewing all of our weekend plans in light of this information to ensure we are as prepared as possible for a potentially busier weekend than usual," she said.

"We would also remind people thinking of coming to A&E to stop and think ‘is A&E for me’? There are a range of local NHS services which may be quicker and even be closer to your home. Using the right service means treatment can be given

quicker to those really in need of urgent care."

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