Only dial 999 in an emergency – new plea

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THE region’s ambulance service is reminding people only to dial 999 in the case of an emergency.

In the past week, Yorkshire Ambulance Service has received a call from someone with toothache and from someone who wanted to know where they could collect medication after being discharged from hospital.

Winter is traditionally a challenging time for the ambulance service and staff working in the ambulance service’s Emergency Operations Centres will see a significant increase in emergency calls which will mean even more people dialling 999 with minor ailments or for simple medical advice.

To try and ease this unnecessary pressure, ambulance bosses are appealing to people with minor illnesses and injuries to consider more appropriate healthcare services for their needs such as a visit to a GP, walk-in-centre, minor injuries unit or a pharmacist, or call NHS Direct.

The Trust’s chief executive David Whiting said: “We will always respond to medical emergencies where it is believed someone needs time-critical help, but our crews often arrive to find people merely require treatment or advice for a minor condition.

“These calls divert emergency resources away from those with potentially life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or stroke and can cause dangerous delays.”

He added: “What I don’t want to do is deter people from calling 999 if it is a genuine emergency.”