Major incident declared in Yorkshire after heavy snow and surged in 999 calls leaves services overwhelmed

A MAJOR incident has been declared in Yorkshire after heavy snow and a surge in coronavirus cases left ambulances overwhelmed.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service said only patients with serious or life-threatening emergency are asked to call 999 to help alleviate the pressure.

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Strategic Commander at the Trust Mark Millins said in a statement: "Due to the very snowy conditions across West, South and North Yorkshire, driving conditions are very difficult and many roads are gridlocked so this is having a severe impact on our operations.

"We are implementing a number of actions in order to protect our core services for patients and respond to the ongoing demand, including increasing our 4×4 capacity.

"We are asking members of the public to only call us in a serious or life-threatening emergency to help us focus our efforts on our most poorly patients."

A message from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also urged patients with appointments booked not to attend hospital. 

They said in a statement: "Due to today’s severe weather, we are asking all patients who have appointments booked today to please not attend hospital. 

"We will contact you to rearrange your appointment.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Coronavirus testing centres in Kirklees and Bradford have also suspended operations.

The Met Office had put in place various yellow warnings across most of the UK for snow and ice which will last throughout Friday and until 9pm on Saturday.

Albemarle in West Yorks, recorded 9cm of snow today, although the figures record could be much higher.

“Looking at people’s pictures from today, it could be 15cm,” Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst told the Sun Online.

The temperature also fell as low as minus 5.5C (21F) in North Yorkshire on Thursday morning, and minus 6.4C (20F) in Dalwhinnie in the Highlands.

Despite the icy conditions, one GP in Leeds was pictured shovelling snow off her car in order to continue working.

Priory View Medical Centre tweeted: "Dr Nelson didn't let a bit of snow stop her from getting the Covid vaccine to some of our housebound patients this morning!"

Becky Mitchell, meteorologist at the Met Office, said that temperatures were expected to return to average next week but that there was potential for further snow on Saturday.

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