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Use Our Emergency Service Wisely

13 April 2017

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) is preparing for one of its busiest weekends of the year by encouraging people to keep themselves and others safe so that emergency ambulances are available for those who need them most.

The Trust tends to experience an increase in 999 calls over bank holidays and they expect the coming four-day weekend to be just as busy.

Dr David Macklin, Executive Director of Operations, said: “More people are likely to be out and about with friends and family over the Easter break and this can lead to more people becoming ill or injured and requiring medical attention. We usually see an increase in alcohol-fuelled incidents too and whilst we don’t want to stop people having fun, we are asking people to stay safe and look after themselves and others.”

The ambulance service is keen to ensure people are aware of the range of healthcare services available for advice and treatment for non-emergencies and less serious conditions.  They include local pharmacies, NHS 111, minor injuries units, walk-in-centres or urgent care centres. The NHS Choices website can help people find their nearest service as well as providing advice on minor conditions - www.nhs.uk

Dr David Macklin continued: “We don’t want to discourage people from calling 999 in a genuine emergency, but we are asking people to think carefully before calling 999 and consider whether an emergency ambulance is the most appropriate service for their needs. Our clinical staff often respond to patients who have reported a serious condition only to find they have a minor illness or injury which could have been handled by an alternative service.

“We want people to enjoy their Easter weekend and keep our ambulance crews for those in a serious or life-threatening condition. Please act responsibly and enjoy a safe Easter.”

Examples of when you should call 999 for an ambulance:
- chest pain
- difficulty in breathing 
- loss of consciousness 
- heavy loss of blood 
- severe burns and scalds 
- choking 
- fitting/convulsions 
- severe allergic reaction
- head injury. 
(Please note: This is not an exhaustive list)

Examples of inappropriate 999 calls:
- ear pain
- toothache
- stubbed toe
- broken finger nail
- sore throat
- hangover.

1. There is a variety of healthcare services available:
 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. This is the best choice for very minor illnesses and injuries.
 NHS 111 - NHS 111 provides confidential health advice and information, 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.
 A&E or 999 - A&E or 999 should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation when someone is seriously ill or injured.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department