England

South East Coast Ambulance Service 'facing high demand'

Secamb ambulance
Image caption Secamb said it continued "to be extremely busy" across the whole of the south east region

Health bosses in Medway have written to GPs in the area asking them not to call the ambulance service unless absolutely necessary.

In a leaked letter, the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group warned of delays due to "high levels of demand".

Clinical chair Dr Peter Green said it could affect both emergency and non-emergency calls to the South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb).

Secamb said it was facing higher demand than usual for the time of year.

In the letter seen by BBC South East, Dr Green said "there may be delays in the provision of the service, especially the less urgent conveyances".

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A spokesman for Secamb said, along with the NHS, it continued "to be extremely busy" across the whole of the south east region.

He said the trust had responded to more than 500,000 incidents in the last calendar year, which equated to an increase of nearly 10% in call-outs on the previous year.

"We continue to face higher demand than we would usually expect at this time of year, meaning it is taking us longer than we would like to attend some calls.

"We are working closely with our colleagues across the NHS to manage this demand," he said.

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