NON-EMERGENCY patient transport to York Hospital has been temporarily suspended by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service as it battles to cope with worsening staff shortages exacerbated by Omicron.

Patients who would normally be taken by ambulance to general outpatient appointments are being contacted and advised to 'make other arrangements.'

Executive Director of Operations Nick Smith said that like all other ambulance services, the Yorkshire service was experiencing operational pressures which were being exacerbated by Covid-related absence.

“Our dedicated staff are doing their best to respond as quickly as possible to all 999 calls, but we acknowledge that some patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance response," he said.

“As a result of rising numbers of staff who are currently absent from work due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the Trust is now implementing further temporary actions to maintain safe care for our patients, including redeploying staff to support frontline services and increasing support for remote clinical assessment.

“In addition, we are temporarily suspending some non-emergency patient transport service journeys to general outpatient appointments but will continue to convey patients for life-saving treatment such as renal dialysis or chemotherapy, treatment for Covid-19, and for those being discharged or admitted to hospital or transferred between hospital sites.

"We are contacting patients affected to ask them to make other arrangements and advising any patients who have any concerns about their transport to contact our reservations team.

“We would like to reassure our patients and the public that, in spite of the challenges currently faced, our emergency service remains fully operational and anyone who needs our assistance for life-threatening of serious emergencies should continue to call 999.

“It’s important that we focus our efforts on our most poorly patients and members of the public are therefore being asked to consider other options for less serious illnesses or injuries.

"These include self-care, local pharmacy, GP surgery, urgent care centre or making their own way to the emergency department. Our NHS 111 service is also available online at or by calling 111.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and thank all our hard-working staff and volunteers for their efforts at this challenging time.”