South Central Ambulance declare critical incident

South Central Ambulance Service under pressure

South Central Ambulance Service declared a critical incident last night because of the number of 999 calls they were receiving. In a tweet they asked people to only use the emergency number in case of a life threatening or serious emergency.

The service covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire and has been under significant pressure for several months.

Staff say they are struggling with the volume of calls coming in and people are being urged to find alternative health care, from the GP or local pharmacy, for less serious conditions.

A knock on effect is that more ambulances are turning up at hospitals in the Thames Valley putting increased pressure on accident and emergency staff. This picture was taken last month outside the emergency department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Ambulances waiting to reach A&E

Covid rates are climbing in the area but services are also seeing an increase in the demand for other emergency care. Just over a week ago South Central Ambulance Service told us they'd received a record high number of calls - over 400 in one day.