Ambulance service urges public to think before dialling 999 ahead of busy bank holiday weekend

PUBLISHED: 08:47 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:55 22 August 2017

Ambulance.

Ambulance.

Archant

South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is expected to deal with 10,000 calls over the weekend.

Devon’s ambulance service is urging people to think before dialling 999 as they gear up for one of the busiest weekends of the year.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT)is expected to deal with 10,000 calls throughout the South West over the course of the bank holiday weekend.

It’s been a busy summer for the trust already, with 270,000 999 calls since May and 62,233 of those have come from Devon.

Of the calls across the South West, 35.5 per cent have been dealt with by paramedics at the scene without a hospital visit and 12 per cent have been resolved over the phone.

SWASFT chief executive Ken Wenman said the trust has to prioritise time critical, life threatening emergencies.

He added: “We know from past experience that the summer season and the influx of visitors can put extra strain on our services, as many people who are visiting the region, and would normally visit their GP, will often dial 999 or visit the nearest emergency department instead.

“We would advise people who need help to think about the alternatives instead of visiting an emergency department or dialing 999. This will help us prioritise our resources and staff to those in genuine need.”

Examples of when to call 999 include choking, chest pain, stroke, serious blood loss and unconsciousness.

The trust advises considering alternatives to 999 and emergency departments, and instead visiting minor injury units, over-the-counter remedies or NHS 111.

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