Snow: ambulances working in tough conditions

SOUTH East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) has called on the public to be understanding as the winter conditions deteriorate across the region.

Wednesday, 1st December 2010, 1:15 pm

Although the Trust has not seen a significant increase in the volume of 999 calls during these adverse conditions, it is seeing an increase in calls relating to falls and road traffic collisions.

SECAmb has responded to 100 more calls relating to falls and 23 more relating to road traffic collisions in the last two days (November 30 and December 1) compared to the same period last week.

The Trust is also experiencing some challenges in reaching patients quickly in the worst affected areas across the region.

A spokesperson said: “We are therefore asking people to bear with us as it may take a little longer than normal to reach people in areas where snow is particularly heavy or roads are icy.

“SECAmb has robust plans in place to deal with such conditions and has called on the support of voluntary organisations such as the Red Cross and St John Ambulance as well as other 4x4 vehicle suppliers to assist us in getting staff to and from work as well as responding to patients.”

SECAmb’s Director of Operations, Sue Harris said: “We currently have the situation under constant review and have taken a number of measures to ensure we continue to provide the very best service to patients during this challenging time.

“In some areas where the snow is particularly heavy, mainly in the north of our region, it is taking us a little longer to reach patients. Our staff are working extremely hard, often going above the call of duty, to ensure we are able to help local people who call upon our service for help.

“I would like to thank patients and the public for their continued support and to our staff and other volunteers who have really gone the extra mile during very challenging times. In some areas staff have remained overnight at their station just so they can continue to provide a service to patients the following day.”