Rise in 999 calls prompts North West campaign to ensure Manchester callers receive ‘right care’

By Matt Scrafton

Ensuring 999 callers across Manchester get the ‘right care’ when they call the emergency services is at the forefront of a new campaign.

Over the last year, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) saw a 5% increase in the number of 999 calls they received – yet only a third of these were categorised as life-threatening.

The campaign aims to make people aware of how their service seeks alternatives for patients whose conditions are less serious – to make sure ambulances are free for those who need them most.

Derek Cartwright, Acting Director of Operations at NWAS, said: “The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of what people can expect when they call on us for help.

“Not all patients are taken to the nearest emergency department; instead, they are assessed or treated by highly skilled clinicians who work out the best place for them to get help for their specific needs.

“This is all about getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

In the case of non-life threatening incidents, the service can do various things to help before an ambulance is dispatched.

Special paramedics can be dispatched; they can direct them to their local GP; tell them to visit their local urgent care centre; book them an emergency appointment or give self-care advice over the phone.

Even if an ambulance response is appropriate, there’s more than the traditional ambulance crew available to help.

The service also uses paramedics in cars and on cycles, air ambulances and trained volunteers too.

Mr Cartwright added: “999 should always be called for an immediately life threatening or serious incident and an emergency ambulance will always be dispatched to those patients who need one.

“What we want to do is raise awareness of all the routes to care available to the public, and to highlight that if you go to the right place first, you could be on the route to recovery much more quickly.”

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