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Feeling unwell? ‘Choose Well’ this winter to get the best care for you

Following its busiest ever weekend since its formation in 2006, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust bosses are reminding the general public to ‘Choose Well’ when feeling unwell to reduce pressure on the service as demand increases.

The Trust has issued information on where to go when you need medical help or advice that does not require an emergency ambulance as part of the NHS Choose Well campaign.

A dedicated page on the service’s website provides details of local walk-in centres and minor injuries units across the Yorkshire and the Humber region, in addition to the NHS 111 service provided by the Trust. Dr David Macklin, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Dr David Macklin, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, says demand for the 999 service has been increasing to unprecedented levels in recent days and is expected to remain high over the next few weeks due to ill health exacerbated by the cold weather and people celebrating the up-and-coming festivities.

He said: “Winter and the festive season are always challenging for us and whilst we will always respond to medical emergencies where it is believed someone needs time-critical help, we often find our crews are caught up dealing with patients with non-urgent conditions where alternative care would have been more appropriate. These calls divert emergency staff away from those with potentially life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack, stroke or breathing difficulties and can cause dangerous delays.  

“Please think twice before you pick up your phone to dial 999 and only call for an ambulance in an emergency when it is obvious that you or another person has a serious or life-threatening illness or injury and needs time-critical help. People with minor illnesses and injuries should consider more appropriate healthcare services for their needs such as contacting a pharmacist or GP, visiting a walk-in-centre or minor injuries unit or calling NHS 111.

“Whilst many people do use our emergency service appropriately, some callers do need to be reminded about the importance of making the right choice about their healthcare needs and the NHS Choices website is a good place to start with helpful information and advice on many common conditions, treatments and local services – www.nhs.uk

“We are also urging people to stock up on medication to manage common health conditions, make sure they have sufficient prescription medicine to last over Christmas and remember to pack their medication if they are going away. We also need everyone to take care when they are out and about, keep warm and ensure they drink responsibly.”

The Choose Well campaign is designed to signpost people to the most suitable care for their situation and we encourage the people of Yorkshire and the Humber to familiarise themselves with this information, all of which is available on the Trust’s website.

Leaflets designed for each Yorkshire region are available to download on the website as well as links to finding your local pharmacy or GP.  NHS 111 also provides help in non-life-threatening situations and details are also available at: http://www.yas.nhs.uk/Calling999/Choose_Well.html

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department