‘Get to A&E under your own steam if you can’ advises Northern Ireland Ambulance Service as spike in emergency call-outs expected amid heatwave

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has said it expects more call-outs amid this week’s mini-heatwave, adding that “we would ask that the public only call if an emergency, but not to hesitate to do so if necessary”.

By Adam Kula
Monday, 18th July 2022, 10:48 am

The Ambulance Service said: “Before dialling 999 we would ask other options are considered for less serious issues... these options might include self-care or advice from other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists.

“We’d also ask, in advance, that if possible patients consider self-transport to emergency departments ...


“When calling 999 you will be advised that your call has been accepted and to only call back if there is a change in patient’s condition.

“Please do not call just to check on ambulance arrival as this creates difficulties in answering other calls.”

Among the other figures sounding the alarm was Tracy Nichols, CEO of the UK-wide College of Paramedics.

She was interviewed yesterday on Sky News’s ‘Sophy Ridge On Sunday’ programme.


“This isn’t like a lovely hot day where we can put a bit of sunscreen on, go out and enjoy a swim and a meal outside,” she said.

“This is serious heat that could actually, ultimately, end in people’s deaths because it is so ferocious.

“We’re just not set up for that sort of heat in this country.”

New UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay told the BBC: “The clear message to the public is to take the sensible steps in terms of water, shade and cover, that many people are aware of. That’s the best way of mitigating against the heat.

“We’re asking people to keep an eye out for their neighbours and those who may be vulnerable.

“We’re also putting in additional contingency support as well.

“We’re putting in extra measures in terms of call handlers, support for fleet [and] extra hours of capacity within the ambulances.

“Each ambulance trust has well-developed contingency plans for extreme weather.

“We’re also working with the hospitals to get the handovers from ambulances into hospitals, but also to ensure that where people can be moved on to the wards themselves, we’re using the full capability of the hospital rather than people waiting longer than they need to in ambulances outside.”

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency said: “It is important to look after older people and those more susceptible to potential health issues in warmer weather.

“If you have a friend or relative who is less mobile or might need a little help, make sure to check in on them. Help them stay hydrated with regular cold drinks, avoiding alcohol.”

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