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Posted: Tue 14th Sep 2021

Councillor calls for more information on pressures facing the Welsh Ambulance Service for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 14th, 2021

Calls have been made for more information on the pressures facing the Welsh Ambulance Service and how these are being addressed.

The trust, along with the wider-NHS, is experiencing significant demand as coronavirus restrictions ease coincide with a rise in cases and more people seeking emergency help.

Such pressures are expected to increase over the winter as the health service deals with an increasing backlog of operations and treatments and prepares to rollout the coronavirus and flu vaccines.

July saw the highest daily average number of calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service since the pandemic began; this is also the third highest daily average total calls since comparable data was first collected in October 2015.

The trust was forced to declare a ‘Business Continuity Incident’ that month due to the increased demand on its services.

A business continuity incident is an event or occurrence that disrupts, or might disrupt, an organisation’s normal service delivery, below acceptable predefined levels, where special arrangements are required to be implemented until services can return to an acceptable level.

Of the calls made a record high percentage (8.2 per cent) of calls to the ambulance service were recorded as immediately life threatening (red calls) since comparable data was first available in May 2019.

July also saw the second highest daily average number of amber calls made to the ambulance service since comparable data was first collected in October 2015.

A Wrexham councillor has called for representatives of the ambulance service to “explain their remedial action plan to reduce pressure on the Ambulance Service.”

In a topic request form submitted to the council’s safeguarding, communities and wellbeing scrutiny committee, councillor Derek Wright said that doing so would help to “develop Members’ and the public’s understanding of the current pressures.”

Cllr Wright said: “A letter has been received by the Leader of the Council from the Chair and Chief Executive’s Office of WAST explaining the current pressures being experienced by the Welsh Ambulance Service and how they are responding to them.

“The letter stated that recent levels of escalation have led to the service not being in a position to send help to their lowest acuity patients, as well as having to then sadly report serious adverse incidents as a result of extended waits in the community.

“Red demand, which represents calls about those most seriously ill patients, has doubled to levels never seen before and outside forecast or seasonal norms, and the PPE requirement for attending red calls also adds two to three minutes to response times.

“They are also continuing to encounter delays in handing over patients at hospital and are now at the worst point since the Covid pandemic began.”

Cllr Wright has also called for a “further breakdown of the types of incidents and illnesses contributing to the increase in demand for the service in Wrexham, particularly in respect of the increase in ‘red’ responses” and a “response from BCUHB regarding the delays in handing over patients at Emergency Departments in Wrexham Maelor.”

He has suggested that representatives from the ambulance service are scheduled for the same meeting as the update from BCUHB on access to GPs and management of GP practices in October/November.

In his request Cllr Wright said the information will help to:

  • Develop Members’ and the public’s understanding of the current pressures.
  • Greater use of the support WAST offers via digital means and via the telephone through the clinical contact centres and 111 service to ensure that they can be as agile and effective as possible.
  • Reduce the number of emergency and non-emergency calls to the service.

The topic request form will be considered at the safeguarding, communities and wellbeing scrutiny committee at 4pm on Wednesday 15 September.

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