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Bank Holiday 999 warning

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:42 06 July 2010

AMBULANCE service chiefs have urged people to think before making avoidable 999 calls this Bank Holiday.

The public have been asked to consider using alternative ways to get treatment and avoid putting the emergency service under strain on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year.

AMBULANCE service chiefs have urged people to think before making avoidable 999 calls this Bank Holiday.

The public have been asked to consider using alternative ways to get treatment and avoid putting the emergency service under strain on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year.

Neil Storey, of the ambulance service, said holidaymakers can help services run smoothly by thinking about whether they really need to access urgent or emergency care.

Anyone using medication can also help avoid complications by making sure they are stocked up on medicine.

Mr Storey said: “Traditionally we see a higher number of 999 calls over the three day Bank Holiday weekend which puts the ambulance service under additional pressure.

“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 Bank Holiday people with minor illness or complaints should consider calling NHS Direct on 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.”

Patients must ring 999 if a 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 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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