Huge pressure on NHS emergency ambulance service

Huge pressure on NHS emergency ambulance service

Patient into emergency department

On Tuesday, 6 March we escalated to the National Ambulance Resilience Unit’s Resource Escalation Action Plan (REAP) Level 4 - equal to hospital Opel 4 status.

REAP is a framework designed to maintain an effective and safe operational and clinical response for patients and is the highest escalation alert level for ambulance trusts.

It is our response to the:

  • huge pressure in the NHS system,
  • lengthy delays many of our ambulance crews are experiencing with hospital handover, and
  • 999 demand.

It remains our priority to get clinicians on scene for patients waiting in the community reported to be in a life-threatening or very serious condition.

The last time EMAS escalated to REAP Level 4 was on Wednesday, 3 January 2018 and was due to increased demand on the service.

David Williams, Deputy Director of Operations said: “The continued dedication, commitment and hard work of our EMAS colleagues, volunteers and partners is helping us manage this exceptional period of high demand.  We continue to monitor activity and our Executive Directors and Senior Management team have agreed a number of REAP 4 actions to support us to deliver a safe service to our patients.”

Actions include:

  • Set up of a Command and Control Cell at our Headquarters in Nottingham.
  • Doctor cover in our Emergency Operations Centre to support our Clinical Assessment Team.
  • When safe to do so, patients are being advised to make their own way to hospital to allow our crews to respond to patients who are in a serious and immediately life threatening condition.
  • Alternative use of some Community First Responder Schemes (CFR) and Non-emergency Patient Transport.
  • Reviewing whether training and clinical education can be rearranged to provide additional support.

We are sorry that some patients unfortunately are experiencing delays.

Patients with a less serious condition are being advised to seek alternative care.

Those who require transport to hospital are being advised that there may be a delayed response while we prioritise patients in a life threatening condition.

It is a common myth that arriving at hospital by ambulance means you get priority treatment. You don’t! The truth is you are assessed and join the queue with all other patients in the department dependant on your clinical condition.   

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