Patients requiring non-urgent hospital treatment on 11 and 23 January are being urged not to call 999 due to further ambulance strikes.
Instead, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s advice is to take alternative transport such as a taxi or get a lift from family and friends.
While ambulances will be available on these dates, the service needs to ensure they are available for people with urgent and life threatening injuries or illnesses, such as cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness and serious head injuries.
People should also use 111.nhs.uk, their GP or local pharmacy for help with non-urgent health concerns.
If they need urgent care, people are being advised to first use the symptom checker at NHS 111 online, which will direct them to the most appropriate support.
Patient Transport Service (PTS) bookings on 11 January will now only be available for renal, oncology and palliative care appointments and providers will be in touch to inform patients if their appointment is being cancelled or to advise if they need to look for alternative transport.
Ged Blezard, Director of Operations, said: “I want to thank the public for their support on the strike action before Christmas. You heeded our messages, and we were grateful to see 999 call volumes drop significantly.
“But, to get to the people who need us this time, we will require you to do the same again.”
During strike action 999 and 111 call centres will be extremely busy and this will result in longer call response times.
Mr Blezard added: “I want to make it clear that if you need us, please continue to call 999, we will get there as soon as we can but if you have already called 999 to request an ambulance, please only call back if your condition has worsened or to cancel the ambulance.”
Repeatedly calling 999 can block phonelines for other emergencies.
Image: Ian Taylor via Unsplash