Emergency services in Dorset have met to discuss resilience issues in the county and are working together to ensure a safe level of service is maintained across the weekend.
The ambulance service, Dorset Police and the county’s hospitals are currently under strain due to staffing shortages and high numbers of emergency call outs. This pressure is expected to continue to rise over the weekend with hot weather forecast and Dorset anticipated to be busy with an influx of visitors.
Representatives from the county’s emergency services met at a meeting of the Strategic Coordinating Group on Friday 16 July 2021 to discuss resilience and how we can ensure the public continue to receive the help they need.
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is warning it will continue prioritising patients in a life-threatening condition as it expects very high demand on its service.
SWASFT has dealt with around 21,000 emergency incidents each week for the past two months, compared to around 19,000 incidents per week in April. That means the Trust is currently responding to around 125 new incidents every hour, and just over two new incidents every minute.
- Members of the public are asked to help during this very busy period by only calling 999 in a genuine life-threatening emergency.
- For other medical concerns, contact NHS 111 for advice and support.
The NHS and ambulance service are asking people not to call back for an estimated arrival time or update on their 999 call. SWASFT says people should only call back if the patient’s condition worsens, or they no longer need an ambulance.
SWASFT is also encouraging people to look after themselves and others during this period of warm and dry weather. People are advised to drink plenty of water, limit their exposure to direct sunlight, and check on those who are vulnerable.
Dorset Police is expecting it to be incredibly busy and will prioritise 999 calls.
The public may experience long delays if they call the Force about a non-urgent matter on 101 this weekend. If you need to report a non-emergency matter you can do this in a number of ways. Every contact is answered personally by a member of the team:
- Report Crime Online – www.dorset.police.uk/reportcrime
- Email 101 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make an Enquiry Online – www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online/make-an-enquiry-online/
Strategic Coordinating Group Chair, Chief Constable James Vaughan, said: “Emergency services in Dorset are already under strain due to staff either testing positive for COVID-19 or having to self-isolate. With the good weather expected this weekend this pressure is going to increase so we are asking the public to help us by only calling if they really need emergency help.
“With this help we are confident we can ensure we have our resources in place to focus on meeting the anticipated high level of demand.
“We would also ask people to plan their journey to Dorset this weekend, find out in advance where to park and if somewhere looks too busy – go elsewhere.
“We would like to thank the public for their understanding and patience at this challenging time.
“Finally, I would like to thank all our officers, police staff, volunteers and emergency service colleagues for all they are doing during this extremely demanding time to help keep residents and visitors safe in the county.”