Yorkshire Ambulance service declares 'major incident' after surge in 999 calls

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Yorkshire ambulance service has declared a major incident after heavy snow and a surge of 999 calls left ambulances overwhelmed.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service said only patients with serious or life-threatening emergency are asked to call 999 to help alleviate the pressure.

The Trust said it made the decision as the extreme weather conditions caused treacherous road conditions meaning medics struggled to get to patients.

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Mark Millins, strategic commander, said: "Due to the very snowy conditions across West, South and North Yorkshire, driving conditions are very difficult and many roads are gridlocked so this is having a severe impact on our operations.

Yorkshie Ambulance ServiceYorkshie Ambulance Service
Yorkshie Ambulance Service

"We are implementing a number of actions in order to protect our core services for patients and respond to the ongoing demand, including increasing our 4x4 capacity.

"We are asking members of the public to only call us in a serious or life-threatening emergency to help us focus our efforts on our most poorly patients."

Medics have battled to reach patients as a sudden snowstorm battered the region today, forcing road closures and hazardous driving conditions.

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Mr Millins added: "Our dedicated staff are working extremely hard to reach patients as quickly and safely as possible but, understandably, the hazardous driving conditions and blocked roads mean that it is taking us longer than normal in the worst-hit areas.

"If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, they should call 999 immediately.

"For anyone with less serious illnesses and injuries, our NHS 111 service is available online at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.

"Please take extra care when out driving or walking and, where possible, avoid travelling at all in snowy or icy conditions.

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"If you do have to go out, ensure that you wear appropriate footwear and warm clothing.

"Also, please stay in touch with elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours to ensure they are safe and well."

Bad weather has also affected the coronavirus vaccinations rollout in the county, with a centre in Barnsley closed as patients were told to await new appointments.

Covid testing centres in Kirklees and Bradford also suspended operations.

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Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also urged patients with appointments booked not to attend hospital.

A yellow Met Office warning for snow and ice is in force until 9pm this evening (Thurs).

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