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"Enjoy the bank holiday and have a great time, but unless it's an emergency please don't call 999"

21 August 2014

That’s the message from the region’s ambulance service as they gear up for one of their busiest weekends of the year.

Typically during a bank holiday weekend, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) experiences a significant increase in 999 calls and it anticipates that this weekend staff will be kept just as busy.

To help ensure emergency ambulances are available for those who need them most, the service is urging people to keep themselves and others safe and only call 999 in an emergency.

Anyone with minor injuries or illnesses are being asked to consider the range of other healthcare options available including seeking advice from their pharmacist, visiting a walk-in centre or calling NHS 111.

In addition, patients on regular medication should remember to check that they have sufficient supplies to last them over the bank holiday period and ensure they have ordered any repeat prescriptions they need from their GP before the weekend.

Vince Larvin, Locality Director of Operations at the Trust, said: “The high volume of calls we receive during bank holiday periods puts our service under increased strain and makes it more difficult for us to ensure we can get to all of the people calling 999 for ambulance assistance quickly.

“Typically, more people will be out and about socialising with family and friends which can lead to an increase in illness and injury and, as many people will be celebrating the extra day off with alcoholic drinks, we usually see a rise in alcohol-fuelled incidents too. We want people to enjoy themselves but ask that they do so sensibly and look after each other.

“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.”

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.

Vince added: “Our highly-trained staff often respond to patients who have reported a serious condition only to find their have a minor illness or injury which would have been more effectively dealt with by a more appropriate service for their needs. Attending a hospital emergency department in an ambulance rather than as a walk-in patient does not mean you will be seen sooner.

“We want to make sure that this weekend is one that people will remember for the right reasons; whether you’re spending time with family or friends, enjoying the football or joining the crowds at Leeds Festival. More importantly, we want to make sure our ambulance crews are there for those who need them most, so please act responsibly, enjoy yourself but stay safe.”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department