Bosses at the North West Ambulance Service issued an urgent warning to members of the public on 999 calls and apologised for delays last night.
At 5pm on Monday (December 12), more than 600 patients were waiting for an ambulance across the North West, the service said. Another 100 emergency vehicles were parked outside of hospitals waiting to handover patients.
'Severe weather and hospital handover delays' had an impact on the service last night, as well as 'significant demand'. Ambulance chiefs said they had to 'maximise resources' by putting all clinically-trained staff on the frontline and increasing use of private providers.
In an urgent message issued on Monday night, medical director Dr Chris Grant said: "This is an urgent message for the public across the whole of the North West. Tonight, across both our 111 and 999 services, we're seeing a really significant demand and I apologise for the delay in getting care to you but I do need your help.
"We've called in all our operational and clinical resources to make sure we prioritise those who have the most life-threatening conditions. We need to keep our phone lines free so please only call us back if you no longer need our help or if your own condition has got significantly worse. Thanks for your support."
Ged Blezard, director of operations at NWAS said: "Please only call 999 if someone has a serious illness or injury, you think their life is at risk, and you cannot get them to hospital by any other means. We know there are patients waiting for our help and we are sorry that we are unable to respond as quickly as we would like.
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Source: Manchester Evening News, 13 December 2022