SATURDAY was the second busiest day in the history of the South West Ambulance Service (SWASFT) as crews saw unprecedented levels of demand.
Deputy Director of Operations William Lee urged people to only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.
He said, “Our people are working incredibly hard to meet the patients in the Southwest who need it the most.
“You may have heard us speak recently of an unprecedented level of demand for confidence.
“It continued throughout this weekend and yesterday was the second busiest day in Confidence history.
“I am asking the public for help today. Please only call 999 in a real life-threatening emergency.
“Please do not call us on 999 for an estimated arrival time as we will not be able to provide one.
“Recalling ETAs means people who need immediate, life-saving instructions cannot pass.
“Please remind us if you no longer need our help or if the patient gets worse.
“Our people continue to work incredibly hard to meet this level of activity and to ensure that we are able to respond to the patients who need us most and for life-threatening emergencies.”
SWASFT also warned the public that in general, at present, it will prioritize critically ill patients.
The service experienced its busiest week in the first week of July, responding to a total of 22,041 incidents.
It has seen a significant increase in demand following the easing of lockdown restrictions, handling more than 20,000 incidents per week since early May, up from around 18,500 incidents per week in early April.
A SWASFT spokesperson said: “Our service is currently in very high demand, which means we need to prioritize critically ill patients.
“Please do not call us back to request an estimated time of arrival, and only call back if the patient’s condition worsens or you no longer need our help.”
A spokesperson for the NHS Dorset CCG said: ‘The healthcare system is currently experiencing unprecedented demand as restrictions relax and we return to normal life, while dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and offering a very successful vaccination program.
“When it comes to getting the right care there are a lot of choices and we know it can be confusing, at the same time we all need to access NHS services wisely.
“Your local pharmacy will help you take care of yourself and manage certain conditions. ”
To find out more, visit swast.nhs.uk