The Welsh Ambulance Service has made an urgent plea to the public not to call 999 for a Coronavirus/COVID-19 test.
Emergency Ambulance crews have been reporting that some patients have been demanding that paramedics perform on-the-spot tests for COVID-19 after fearing that they have become infected with the deadly virus.
But emergency ambulance crews do not have COVID-19 test kits.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service said:
“Ambulance crews do not, and never have, carried tests for Coronavirus”.
The Trust has also said that worried members of the public have been calling 999 and lying about medical emergencies to get an emergency ambulance crew sent to their address.
However, upon arrival, crews have found that ‘patients’ have been lying about their symptoms and have instead lured crews to their address so that they can be tested for COVID-19.
Some callers have even been demanding ‘check-ups’ from emergency ambulance crews.
In a video appeal shared on social media, Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said:
“Our people are working incredibly hard to provide you with the best possible care in these exceptionally challenging circumstances.
“Our crews cannot perform swabbing or testing for Coronavirus, so please don’t call us for this reason.
“Please also don’t call us for a ‘check-up’ if you have symptoms of Coronavirus.
“Our emergency ambulance service exists to help people whose lives are in immediate danger and not to give precautionary check-ups.
“If you are self-isolating at home, then you do not need to be tested, and you do not need to call 111 to tell us you’re self-isolating.
“You should only call 111 if your symptoms worsen considerably or you cannot manage your symptoms at home.”
“We do understand that you’re concerned and frightened, but using us unnecessarily is taking our precious resources away from patients who really need our help.”
The official advice from Public Health Wales says that testing for Coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
Only those in hospital are being routinely tested for Coronavirus.
Testing is also accessible to healthcare workers to allow them to return to work on the frontline quicker if their test comes back as negative.
The plea made by the Welsh Ambulance Service comes following a similar appeal last week.
In the appeal, the Welsh Ambulance Service asked for the public’s honesty when calling 111 or 999 for help after it becomes apparent that some people were withholding information about their illness for fear of not being sent an ambulance.
This dishonesty has meant that emergency ambulance crews have been exposed to COVID-19 patients without the necessary personal protective equipment.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service added:
“If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – that is a new, continuous cough or a high temperature – you can take the COVID-19 symptom checker at www.111.wales.nhs.uk/covid19
“You can also use this resource to access a self-isolation note for your employer”.
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