North West Ambulance declares ‘major incident’ after it’s ‘swamped’ by 999 calls

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North West Ambulance Service has declared a major incident due to high demand.

On Monday evening the ambulance service said it was "exceptionally busy" and has told people to expect delays, with staff forgoing their dinner breaks to handle the influx.

People in the north-west of England are being urged not to call an ambulance except in the case of a true medical emergency.

"We are exceptionally busy this evening," the official NWAS Twitter account said, Manchester Evening News reports.

"Unfortunately there will be delays and we urge you not to call back to ask how long we will be. Please only ring 999 for life threatening emergencies."

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NWAS Unison added: "Major Incident Declared by NWAS. We have agreed to suspend the Meal Break Policy in line with the agreement that we have with the Trust between 5pm and 7pm.

"If you have any problems please speak to EOC."

The service's full statement reads: "North West Ambulance Service has declared a major incident due to the high level of activity in the North West region, in particular the Greater Manchester area.

"For enquiries relating to this incident, please follow our Twitter site @NWAmbulance and our Facebook page.

"If your call is not life-threatening, you may be asked if you can seek an alternative source of care or make your way to hospital by alternate means.

"You can help us reach the patients that urgently need our help by not calling 999 unless the condition is life-threatening or potentially life-threatening, not calling us to find out where your ambulance is or calling to cancel any ambulance that you no longer require or feel is necessary.

"We are trying our best to reach patients as soon as we possibly can and apologise for any delays in our response. Please bear with us.

"For medical advice, please go to 111 online."

NWAS provides emergency medical service to almost seven million people across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, and the North Western fringes of Derbyshire.

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