17% increase in demand for Emergency Ambulance Service

 The St John Emergency Ambulance Service has experienced a 17% increase in the number of incidents attended in the six months between February and July 2018, compared with the same period last year.

During that time the ambulance service responded to four hundred extra calls.

Of the overall total number of incidents, more than seven hundred were for immediately life threatening emergencies, which are categorised as Priority One calls. However falls accounted for the greatest volume of responses. The service is now working with the HSC and other healthcare professionals through the Partnership of Purpose to help reduce the number of falls.

The increase in demand has meant more off-duty staff have been called back to work to provide cover and maintain the capability to respond to emergencies around the island. The total number of ‘call backs’ between February and July was around two hundred and fifty.

Senior Officer Dean de la Mare said “In the early part of the year winter pressures resulted in an increased demand for the ambulance service. The number of incidents peaked in March and April, but the overall trend has been for a busy year so far compared to 2017. The number of calls in July was also significantly up on previous years.”

Chief Officer Ali Marquis said the service had coped well with the increased workload. “I would like to thank all the staff who have made themselves available to return to work during this busy time. Our call-back system is designed to ensure emergency ambulance cover can be maintained at times of peak demand and I am grateful to our clinicians for their commitment and flexibility, and to their families for their understanding”. Mrs Marquis added “Unlike other emergency services ambulance clinicians provide an unpaid on-call service, which we are grateful for.”

To assist HSC during periods of bed pressures within the hospital the St John Emergency Ambulance Service paramedics has been treating and discharging more patients at home. However this takes on average twice as long as transferring patients to the Emergency Department. It is also important that our clinicians have access to increased technology to support this, including using technology to get results interpreted remotely by the ED consultant, rather than taking a patient out of their home and into hospital.