North West Ambulance Service has moved to the top level of its Resource Escalation Action Plan amidst severe pressure being placed on the service.
The service confirmed it had escalated to REAP level 4 on Tuesday afternoon.
The decision was made due to increased demand on the service, as well rising coronavirus cases.
The situation does not equate to a ‘major incident’ but instead means that pressure on the service is likely to be sustained for a period of time over coming days and weeks.
Ged Blezard, NWAS’s Director of Operations, said: “REAP levels are nationally set measurements of activity, used by all ambulance services in the UK. The higher the number (1-4) the more pressure the service is under. Normal levels are deemed to be at stages one to two.
“For the duration of the pandemic, NWAS has been operating between two to three and today has taken the decision to escalate to REAP Level 4 – extreme pressure.
“This is due to the extremely high levels of activity in the North West region, the pressure on local hospitals and the trust operating while some of its workforce are isolating or shielding.
“In response to this rise, NWAS is maximising its resources by putting all clinically trained staff on the responding frontline, increasing our use of private providers and working with our healthcare partners to safely help us guide non urgent cases to other healthcare services.
“REAP levels can change throughout the day and the trust will be carefully monitoring the effects of the escalation which is hoped will help manage the increase in demand.
“The public can help us by only calling 999 in serious or life-threatening emergencies, checking their symptoms on 111 online and acting within the Government COVID guidelines by only travelling when necessary, shopping only for essential items and staying home.”