As the region gets ready to see in the New Year in with loved ones, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is gearing up for what could be their busiest night of the year as they prepare to handle up to 6,000 emergency calls in just one day.
The service will have 30% more staff working in their emergency operations centres and an extra 79 ambulances out on the road available to respond to emergencies, but are still calling on the public to help them out by only dialling 999 in a life-threatening emergency.
Director of Operations, Ged Blezard, said: “Although we have increased our staffing levels as much as we can on New Year’s Eve, it’s still really important that we’re only called when we’re really needed.
“During peak times, we expect that people will have to wait slightly longer for an ambulance, particularly if the patient is not in an immediately life-threatening condition, we ask people to please bear with us and only call back if there has been a change in the patient’s condition.
“We have made changes to the way we manage calls to give more information about expected wait times but we aren’t able to give a specific time. We do always get to incidents as quickly as possible but we must prioritise based on severity of the condition to allow us to attend to the most seriously ill patients first.”
Last year, NWAS saw a 50% increase in emergency calls on the night of New Year’s Eve when compared to a regular Saturday night and whopping 170% increase in calls to assaults.
Ged continued: “New Year’s Eve is a time for fun and festivities but it’s really important to avoid spoiling the fun by drinking too much alcohol. Know your limits and be sure to plan your journey home.”
For less serious incidents that do not require an immediate ambulance response, callers are now asked if it’s possible for the patient to safely make their own way to hospital, or if an ambulance has been called which is no longer needed, to call us back on 999 to cancel.