AMBULANCES that cover Knutsford and the surrounding area are experiencing an ‘unprecedented’ rise in the number of seriously ill patients – and bosses have warned this could lead to delays for those with less serious conditions.

North West Ambulance Services has said it has seen an increase in May and June of nearly seven per cent in all ‘red’ calls – meaning a patient is in a life-threatening condition – compared to the same period last year.

Derek Cartwright, director of operations, said: “These patients need our help urgently. They have life-threatening conditions and it is these people we need to reach within eight minutes.

“We’re seeing people with conditions such as respiratory and heart conditions, which can be exacerbated by the warm weather and, in this period, we have also had the World Cup and four bank holidays, which brings incidents involving alcohol.”

He said this rise has had an effect on response times and the service has fallen short of its target of 75 per cent for the first quarter and has reported a performance of 73.5 per cent.

Mr Cartwright added: “We understand that for everyone who rings 999, their problem is an urgent one.

“However, we have to prioritise our resources, and while we strive to reach everyone as quickly as possible, it is likely that those with less serious conditions may have to wait longer for an ambulance.”

Patients are advised to consider walk-in centres, GPs or their local pharmacies before dialling 999, if their condition is not life-threatening.

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