Yorkshire ambulance bosses are encouraging the general public to Choose Well when feeling unwell during the festive period, to reduce the strain on the service as demand increases.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has issued information on where to go when you need medical help or advice that does not require an emergency ambulance as part of the NHS Choose Well campaign.
A dedicated page on the service’s website contains details of local walk-in centres and minor injuries units across the Yorkshire and the Humber region in addition to the NHS 111 service provided by the Trust.
David Williams, Deputy Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, says demand for the 999 service will increase over the next few weeks due to ill health exacerbated by the cold weather and people celebrating the up-and-coming festivities.
He said: “The festive season and winter itself are traditionally challenging times for us and whilst we will always respond to medical emergencies where it is believed someone needs time-critical help, we often find our crews are caught up dealing with patients with non-urgent conditions where alternative care would have been more appropriate. These calls divert emergency staff away from those with potentially life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or stroke and can cause dangerous delays.
“Only call 999 for an ambulance in a medical emergency when it is obvious that you or another person has a serious or life-threatening illness or injury and need time-critical help. People with minor illnesses and injuries should consider more appropriate healthcare services for their needs such as a visit to a pharmacist, GP, walk-in-centre, minor injuries unit or call NHS 111.
“The Choose Well campaign is designed to signpost people to the most suitable care for their situation and we encourage the people of Yorkshire and the Humber to familiarise themselves with this information, all of which is available on our website.”
A series of leaflets designed for each Yorkshire region are available to download on the website as well as links to finding your local pharmacy or GP. NHS 111 also provides help in non-life-threatening situations and details are also available at: http://www.yas.nhs.uk/Calling999/Choose_Well.html
Examples of when you should call 999 for an ambulance:
(Please note: This is not an exhaustive list)
§ chest pain
§ difficulty in breathing
§ loss of consciousness
§ heavy loss of blood
§ severe burns and scalds
§ severe allergic reaction
§ head injury.
Examples of inappropriate 999 calls:
§ ear pain
§ stubbed toe
§ broken finger nail
§ sore throat