AMBULANCE Service bosses are urging people to think twice about dialling 999 over Easter to avoid tying up staff and putting people at risk.
Last Easter, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust dealt with a surge in emergency calls and bosses fear this year’s holiday, coupled with the current warm spell, will be just as busy.
Alan Baranowski, assistant director of A&E operations in South Yorkshire, said: “The high volume of calls we traditionally receive during bank holiday periods puts the service under increased strain and makes it harder for us to ensure we can get to all patients quickly. We usually see a rise in alcohol-fuelled incidents too.
“Our staff often respond to patients who have reported a serious condition only to find they have a minor illness or injury which would have been more appropriately dealt with by NHS Direct, a pharmacist, GP or minor injuries unit.
“This could delay us getting to someone with a more serious or life-threatening condition.
“We don’t want to deter people from calling 999 in a genuine medical emergency and I would like to reassure members of the public that we will have additional resources in place to manage the anticipated rise in demand.
“All we ask is that people think carefully about whether they really need to call 999
Emergency 999 calls should always be made for conditions including chest pains, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, severe burns and scalds, choking, fitting, drowning, severe allergic reactions and head injuries.