South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) has declared a ‘critical incident’ following more than a week of sustained pressure across 999 and 111 services.
The decision, taken yesterday (December 19) is due to the pressure which has significantly impacted the service’s ability to respond to patients.
In a statement Secamb say: “We would like to thank all our staff and volunteers for their hard work and commitment in recent days in what continue to be extremely challenging circumstances.
“We urge the public to continue to call 999 in life-threatening emergencies as we prioritise our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.
“People can continue to support us by seeking help and advice from alternatives including via NHS 111 Online at 111.nhs.uk, their own GP or by speaking to a pharmacist.
“Declaring a Critical Incident provides us with additional oversight and enables us to explore options including mutual aid, while focusing all efforts on frontline patient care.
“The situation will be kept under close review.”
Staff in the service who are members of the GMB union are also due to take strike action on 21 December and the 28 December.