AMBULANCE service bosses are urging people to think twice before dialling 999 over Easter - traditionally one of the busiest times for the emergency service.
Last Easter Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust saw a ‘significant’ rise in calls over the Bank Holiday weekend and are predicting this weekend to be just as busy again.
To try to reduce the pressure on the service, people are being urged to consider other options before calling automatically for an ambulance for non life threatening conditions.
Alan Baranowski, emergency operations director, said the high volume of 999 calls received traditionally during bank holidays makes it harder for medics to reach all patients.
He said: “Typically more people will be out and about socialising which can lead to more people becoming ill or injured. And, as many people like to enjoy an alcoholic drink during the four-day holiday, 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 local pharmacist, a GP or a minor injuries unit and 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 emergency and would like to reassure the public we will have additional resources in place to manage the anticipated rise in demand during the busy period. All we ask is that people think carefully about whether they really need to call 999 for an emergency ambulance or whether someone else’s need could be greater.”
For advice and treatment for non-emergencies and less serious conditions, people are urged to visit a pharmacist or GP surgery, walk-in centre or minor injuries unit, or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
Ambulances should always be called for when people are experiencing chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, severe burns, scalds, choking, fitting, severe allergic reaction, head injuries and drowning.