The Welsh Ambulance Service is urging the public to be honest about the nature of their illness when calling 111 or 999 for help.
It has become apparent that some members of the public have been withholding information about their illness during the Covid-19 outbreak for fear of not being sent an ambulance, according to feedback from Trust staff.
This means crews have been attending some incidents without the necessary protective equipment, exposing them to potential harm.
The service is asking the public to be open and transparent about the nature of their call and their symptoms so it can signpost patients to the most appropriate care and safeguard its crews from contracting the virus.
In a video message to the public shared on social media, Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “Right across our organisation, staff are working tirelessly to ensure we can continue to provide you the best possible care as we respond to Covid-19.’
“This is unchartered territory for our generation but our plans continue to develop as we work with our partners to ensure that we deliver care as safely and effectively as possible.’
“I have a plea for the wider public at this time. Our teams operating in your community are reporting that they arrive at the scene of an incident, possibly at your home, to discover that callers have withheld information about their symptoms.’
“Some of you have told us that you were concerned that, had you been honest, an ambulance would not have been sent. We understand your concerns but I want to make a couple of things clear.’
Firstly, we will always send an ambulance where it is warranted, but this means relying on what our call handlers are told at the point that you call us.’
“If you don’t give us accurate information, you risk the welfare of the people whose job it is to care for us all.’
“This is incredibly unfair on our staff, as it means that their right to enter your home prepared has been removed. Personal protective equipment is worn by our staff to protect them from contracting the disease.’
“I must ask everyone who calls either 111 or 999 to be honest with us about what’s wrong with you and allow us to signpost you to the right care.
“These are difficult times for us all, but please don’t put our staff in harm’s way when they just don’t need to be.”
Lee added: “Please heed the official advice from government and Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.”