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'Stay safe, plan ahead and use 999 responsibily during the Easter break'

28 March 2013

That is the message from ambulance bosses in Yorkshire ahead of what they expect to be one of their busiest weekends of the year.

With many people enjoying the four-day bank holiday with family and friends, coupled with the continuation of the latest cold snap, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is anticipating a significant increase in demand for their service which can be a life-line in a genuine emergency.  

This has prompted an appeal for people to take extra care when they are out and about, stock up on over-the-counter products such as painkillers and treatments for coughs and colds ahead of the break and only to call 999 for an ambulance in a life-threatening or serious medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke.

David Williams, Deputy Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, is heading up the preparations for the weekend and says that traditionally bank holiday periods result in a rise in calls, many for minor ailments, which undoubtedly puts pressure on the already busy service.

He said: “We are not trying to stop people having a good time or deter them from using our service in a genuine emergency, but to help us ensure our vital resources are available for those who need them most we simply ask that people follow a few simple steps to ensure they keep themselves and others safe from harm and use the 999 service responsibly.

“Whilst we have plans in place to help manage the impact of the additional demand this weekend, our resources are not unlimited and when our highly-skilled staff are caught up dealing with people who have dialled 999 with minor illness and injuries such as toothache and earache, it can delay us in reaching someone who urgently needs us.”

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is asking people with minor illnesses and injuries to consider the variety of other NHS healthcare services available to them for advice and treatment for non-emergencies and less serious conditions.

For many ailments a local pharmacist can provide advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them at home and many pharmacies will be open throughout the Easter break. 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. 

Mr Williams added that alcohol will play a part in many people’s Easter celebrations and anticipates an increase in alcohol-fuelled incidents putting additional demand on the service.

He said: “Our staff will be working extremely hard this weekend, not only to get to our patients quickly, but to provide an excellent standard of clinical care to those in need of time-critical help. We don’t want to deter people from calling upon the service for help should they need to do so, but would ask everyone to stay safe, well prepared and uses 999 responsibly.” 

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department