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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch West Berkshire

Ambulance Services (SCAS) under extreme pressure.

SCAS declares critical incident due to extreme pressures.


South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) has declared a critical incident due to extreme pressures across their services which have built through yesterday and into today. This is related to the continued high level of demand with a large volume of calls being received, staffing levels and crews caring for patients at hospital until being able to handover into the care of the hospital which impacts their ability to get crews back on the road to respond to patients.


Due to this pressure, it's crucial for the community to use the service wisely and responsibly. Here are some suggestions on how to do so:


  • Assess the Situation: Before calling for an ambulance, assess the severity of the situation. If it's a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack or serious injury, call for an ambulance immediately. If the situation is less urgent, consider other options like contacting a local urgent care centre or your primary care doctor.

  • Use Alternative Services: For non-emergencies or minor health concerns, consider using alternative healthcare services such as pharmacies, local walk-in clinics, or urgent care centres. These services can provide appropriate care for less severe medical issues without putting additional strain on ambulance services.

  • Contact NHS 111: for medical advice and guidance. Trained professionals can assess your situation and provide recommendations on whether you need emergency assistance or if another form of care is more appropriate.

  • Follow Medical Advice: If you've already received medical advice from a healthcare professional, follow their recommendations. If they have advised seeking immediate emergency care, then call for an ambulance. If the situation is less urgent, follow their guidance on how to manage the situation appropriately.

  • Educate Yourself: Learn basic first aid and emergency response techniques. Being able to provide initial care in certain situations may help stabilise a person's condition until professional help arrives, reducing the need for immediate ambulance assistance.

  • Transportation Alternatives: If the situation allows, consider using alternative transportation methods to reach the hospital, such as a private vehicle or a ride-sharing service, especially for non-life-threatening situations.

  • Be Patient: During times of high demand, emergency services may experience delays. It's important to remain patient and trust that they are doing their best to respond to urgent cases first.

Remember that the goal is to ensure that those in the most critical need receive prompt attention from emergency services. By using the ambulance service wisely and responsibly, you contribute to the overall effectiveness of the emergency healthcare system.

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