999 service gears up for Easter

Thursday 28th March 2013 – 5.00pm – Steve Parry

With the wintry weather conditions likely to persist over the Easter bank holiday, there are fears that demand on the emergency ambulance service could exceed predictions with calls rising to between 10 and 15 per cent above normal.

Ambulance crews will deal with a range of emergency incidents over the four days and the Trust has mobilised additional staff to staff ambulances and response cars so that the anticipated rise in 999 calls can be dealt with safely.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “The Easter holiday always proves to be a busy time for the ambulance service with the public taking the opportunity to enjoy the first holiday break of the year.

“We anticipate 999 calls to rise and therefore we would ask the public to continue to take extra care in the wintry conditions.

“We would also ask the public to think carefully before calling 999 for an emergency ambulance, thereby allowing us to attend to patients’ suffering life threatening illness and injury.”

During the bank holiday period, the ambulance service will be working alongside other agencies to ensure patients receive the appropriate care and treatment. In cases where illness and injury is not life threatening, it may be appropriate to consider alternatives to calling 999 such as NHS Direct, Walk-in Centres or local pharmacists.

Notes to Editor
1. Examples of 999 calls that could have been dealt with elsewhere: ear pain, toothache, stubbed toe, broken finger nail, sore throat and hangover.

2. Other healthcare services available include:
• Self care – A range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.
• NHS Direct – NHS Direct provides confidential health advice and information by phone (0845 46 47), through digital TV and online (www.nhs.uk), 24 hours a day.
• Pharmacist – Your local pharmacist can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Visit a pharmacist when you are suffering from a common health problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor.
• GP – GP surgeries provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations, and prescriptions. In an emergency, a GP can also visit your home outside of opening hours by contacting your local surgery and following the recorded instructions.
• NHS walk-in centre, urgent care centre, or minor injuries unit – You do not need an appointment and you will be seen by an experienced nurse or GP. These services give healthcare and advice and most are open from early in the morning until late at night. Visit one of these centres if you need medical treatment or advice which does not need a visit to A&E or a medical appointment.


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