Ambulance service declares ‘major incident’ after struggling with demand during snow

An ambulance service has declared a major incident due to snow causing chaos in Yorkshire (Image: Lee McLean/SWNS)

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An ambulance service has declared a major incident due to snow causing chaos in Yorkshire.

High demand and heavy snow is causing a "severe impact" on operations, ambulances bosses say as they struggle to keep up with high demand.

The Met Office had put in place various yellow warnings across most of the UK for snow and ice which will last throughout Friday and until 9pm on Saturday.

The snow was thickest in Bingley, West Yorkshire, and Strathallan in Perth, Scotland, where 11cm was recorded on Thursday.

Temperatures in parts of north-east England and Scotland may drop as low as minus 10C (14F) overnight into Friday and freezing fog is expected to continue to cause difficulties for travellers.

Elderly patients due to receive Covid jabs at Newcastle's Centre for Life mass vaccination hub were advised to rebook their appointments to avoid the bad weather.

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The ambulances services has asked people to only call for a genuine emergency
(Image: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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The Newcastle NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust tweeted: "It's easy to do by calling 119. No need to risk travelling in the bad weather."

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said the "hazardous" conditions meant it was taking longer for crews to reach patients and urged people to take extra care when out driving or walking.

Mark Millins, strategic commander at the trust, said: "Due to the very snowy conditions across West, South and North Yorkshire, driving conditions are very difficult and many roads are gridlocked so this is having a severe impact on our operations.

"We are asking members of the public to only call us in a serious or life-threatening emergency to help us focus our efforts on our most poorly patients.

Snow rips through the north of England and Scotland
(Image: PA)

"Our dedicated staff are working extremely hard to reach patients as quickly and safely as possible but, understandably, the hazardous driving conditions and blocked roads mean that it is taking us longer than normal in the worst-hit areas.

"Please take extra care when out driving or walking and, where possible, avoid travelling at all in snowy or icy conditions.

"If you do have to go out, ensure that you wear appropriate footwear and warm clothing. Also, please stay in touch with elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours to ensure they are safe and well."

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The temperature fell as low as minus 5.5C (21F) in North Yorkshire on Thursday morning, and minus 6.4C (20F) in Dalwhinnie in the Highlands.

Despite the icy conditions, one GP in Leeds was pictured shovelling snow off her car in order to continue working.

Priory View Medical Centre tweeted: "Dr Nelson didn't let a bit of snow stop her from getting the Covid vaccine to some of our housebound patients this morning!"

Overnight temperatures will also hover around freezing further south in England, with London expected to drop to 1C (34F) and parts of the South East reaching an icy minus 2C (28F).

Becky Mitchell, meteorologist at the Met Office, said that temperatures were expected to return to average next week but that there was potential for further snow on Saturday.

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Police Scotland's road policing unit also warned against travelling in the wintry weather.

Chief superintendent Louise Blakelock said: "Government restrictions on travelling remain in place across Scotland because of the ongoing pandemic.

"People should not leave their homes unless for essential purposes and work from home where possible. The best way to stay safe is to stay at home.

"In the current wintry weather please consider if your journey is exempt under the regulations and also if it really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves."

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