East of England Ambulance Service urges people not to strain 999 service this Easter

THE ambulance service is urging the public to consider using alternative ways to get treatment and avoid putting the 999 service under strain over the coming Bank Holiday weekend. As one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, many more people are ou

THE ambulance service is urging the public to consider using alternative ways to get treatment and avoid putting the 999 service under strain over the coming Bank Holiday weekend.

As one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, many more people are out and about enjoying themselves or spending more time at home than usual, and they can play their part in ensuring services run as smoothly as possible by thinking carefully about whether they really need to access urgent or emergency care.

It's also a time when people should ensure that they are stocked up on their medication (particularly if they manage a long term condition) to avoid any complications and the chances of needing to call 999.

Associate director of emergency operations for the ambulance service, Neil Storey, said: "Traditionally we see a higher number of 999 calls over the four-day Bank Holiday weekend which puts the ambulance service under additional pressure.


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"We want people to ensure they're being safe so that they don't require treatment in the first place, but should they find themselves in a situation where they need medical attention, they should consider whether it's an emergency or not."

Over the Easter holiday period, people with minor illness or complaints should consider calling NHS Direct (0845 4647), or visiting a local walk-in centre or local pharmacy. They should also consider whether they can get alternative transport to their local accident and emergency department if they need to attend.

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Examples of minor ailments which could be dealt with by alternative NHS services are:

- Coughs, colds, sore throat, and earache

- Minor cuts, bruises and wounds

- Muscle and joint injuries - strains and sprains

- Skin complaints

- Toothache

Patients MUST ring 999 however, if the situation is life-threatening or serious, such as:

- Complaining of chest pains

- Unconscious or fitting

- Losing a lot of blood

- Having a suspected stroke

- Suffering from a deep wound or head injury

- Difficulty in breathing

Mr Storey added: "We would never wish to discourage people who have a genuine emergency from dialling 999 and we would like to reassure the public that we have the resources in place to manage the extra demand during this holiday period.

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