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Think before you call 999 this Bank Holiday weekend

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is appealing to people to use 999 responsibly this Bank Holiday weekend.

Traditionally, the service will see an increase in demand on Bank Holidays as people take advantage of the long weekend – and this weekend is expected to be no different.

Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “More people are out and about socialising with family and friends on the Bank Holiday weekends, and this can lead to more people becoming ill or suffering injuries and requiring medical attention.

“While there are plans in place to deal with the increase in demand, we only have a limited number of crews and vehicles available which means that we need to prioritise those sickest patients first.

“It also means that people not facing a serious or life-threatening emergency could wait longer for a response or be asked to seek alternatives to an ambulance response.

“We certainly don’t want to discourage people from calling 999 in a genuine emergency, but are asking people to consider whether an emergency ambulance is the most appropriate service for their needs.”

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

Using 999 correctly helps crews to reach those patients most in need of clinical attention.

“Our clinical staff often find themselves responding to patients who have reported a serious condition only to find they have a minor illness or injury which could have been treated by an alternative service,” said Lee.

August has been an exceptionally busy month for the Welsh Ambulance Service already.

Wednesday 12 August, which was the hottest day of the year in Wales, was its busiest day of the year so far second only to New Year’s Day.

The service is reminding the public of the alternatives to 999.

Lee said: “If you’re ill and unsure what to do, please visit 111.wales.nhs.uk for advice and information or to take a symptom checker quiz.

“Alternatively, visit a pharmacy, your GP or a Minor Injury Unit.

“You can also call 111 to speak to a Nurse Advisor, or 0845 46 47 if it’s not available in your area.

“Keep yourselves and others safe so that emergency ambulances are available for those who need them most.

“We also continue to live with the presence of Covid-19 and so we need to continue to follow the guidance from Public Health Wales and Welsh Government.”

Anyone visiting Wales this weekend should remember to bring any essential medicines and stock up on repeat prescriptions before they travel.