Ambulance service declared critical incident after systems crashed

The East of England Ambulance Service declared a “critical incident” after its systems went down.

The East of England Ambulance Service declared a “critical incident” after its systems went down. - Credit: EEAST

The region's ambulance service declared a “critical incident” after its systems went down, leaving “outstanding and uncovered” 999 calls. 

It is understood the East of England Ambulance Service Trust's (EEAST) control room - including phone lines and IT systems - failed on Wednesday afternoon, November 10. 

All systems are now returning, but off-duty staff have been asked to work in a bid to deal with the back log of 999 calls.  

People in need of medical care should only ring 999 if it is a real emergency.

In a message to staff, they said: "EEAST have declared a critical incident due to a complete CAD and Telephony failure.

"We now have systems returning and are in the recovery phase.

"Due to this failure, we have significant numbers of outstanding/uncovered 999 calls.

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"Any staff off duty or on rest days who would be willing to assist this evening with any hours would be appreciated."

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesperson said: "Shortly before 2.30pm today our Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and telephony systems experienced a failure. 

"The national contingency plan was enacted and 999 calls were rerouted to neighbouring ambulance services while the fault was traced and fixed. Our systems are now up and running.

"We also liaised with other blue-light services to ensure they were aware and could contact us by other means.

"We would like to thank our staff who have work incredibly hard to support patients and our ambulance partners who assisted during this time."

This comes as the region's ambulance service has been left struggling to meet the demand for 999 call outs. 

In a report by this paper, it was revealed that a patient had died because so many ambulances were stuck outside of a hospital that nobody could respond to their 999 call

Not one ambulance from Cromer to Waveney - a distance of almost 50 miles - was free, meaning the woman had to wait an hour for a crew to come from Ipswich last month. But, by that time, they had died.

A lack of space in hospitals has led to long delays across the region for ambulances to handover patients and crews warned last month that it was costing lives. 

Figures revealed that ambulances were delayed outside Norfolk hospitals for at least an hour for a record 2,200 times in September.

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