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Bank Holiday Plea - ‘Use 999 Wisely’

We are urging the public to 'use us wisely' to ensure that seriously ill and injured patients continue to get as quick a response as possible.

As the region’s ambulance service prepares for a busy May Day bank holiday weekend, people whose call is not an emergency are asked to consider other healthcare options rather than dialling 999.

Traditionally, there is a sharp rise in demand for the 999 service over bank holidays with extra alcohol-related calls adding an unnecessary pressure.

Paul Birkett-WendesPaul Birkett-Wendes, Executive Director of Operations for the Trust, said: “Alcohol-related calls put extra pressure on the service, particularly during holiday time, and every minute that we spend looking after somebody who has had too much to drink, is a minute that could have been spent helping a patient who is seriously ill or injured.

“We have plans in place to help manage the impact of the additional demand this weekend will bring. However, people with minor illnesses and injuries should consider the variety of other NHS healthcare services available to them for advice and treatment for non-emergencies and less serious conditions.

“We want people to enjoy themselves but please do it sensibly and look after each other. A night out shouldn’t end up in the back of an ambulance or in a hospital emergency department.”

For many ailments a local pharmacist can provide advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them at home. People can also get help at an NHS walk-in centre or minor injuries unit which are usually open early morning until late at night, or they can ring NHS 111, the new urgent care helpline which is available 24 hours a day.

Local emergency departments or 999 should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation when someone is seriously ill or injured, such as chest pain, difficulty in breathing, unconsciousness, severe loss of blood, severe burns or scalds, choking, fitting or concussion, drowning and severe allergic reactions.


Produced By: Corporate Communications Department