Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) is appealing for people to ‘think before you call’ as the final preparations are made for what is traditionally the busiest night of the year – New Year’s Eve.
Many calls are received from patients who do not need to go to hospital. 999 calls for minor illnesses and injuries can potentially put those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries at greater risk by using valuable resources inappropriately.
The appeal comes as the ambulance trust thanks its staff after a very busy Christmas when over 4,100 emergency incidents were responded to on 25 and 26 December alone. Over the two days there were 781 life-threatening emergencies, an increase of around 200 compared to last year.
Stephen Segasby, Deputy Director of Operations at YAS, said: “Our staff have done an incredible job over the busy Christmas period looking after thousands of patients, many of whom were very poorly and needed our help as quickly as possible.
“But when people use our emergency medical service inappropriately for minor injuries and illnesses and less serious calls, this ties up our resources and means we can’t get to those who really need us as quickly as we would like to.
“We would appeal to everyone to think before you call and only dial 999 when someone is in need of time-critical life-saving help.”
To help you understand when you should call us or use an alternative healthcare provider, please consider the following:
Dial 999 immediately for medical emergencies such as (this list is not exhaustive):
• Chest pain
• Severe breathing difficulty
• Loss of consciousness
• Heavy blood loss
• Severe allergic reaction
For other illnesses and injuries, consider other more appropriate healthcare services such as:
• NHS 111
• Urgent care or walk-in centre
• Minor injuries unit
• Visit the NHS Choices website
• Make your own way to your local A&E
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are traditionally our busiest time of the year when we see an increase in alcohol-related calls.
Stephen said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s celebrations but we are asking party-goers on New Year’s Eve to think about how much alcohol they are consuming and stay safe to ensure they don’t put their own health or that of others in jeopardy.
“People can help themselves to have an enjoyable night and stay well by being aware of how much they’re drinking, alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water, eating before they go out, planning ahead for transport home and looking after each other.
“Most of all please remember that the 999 number should only be used in serious medical emergencies and people should use the service responsibly so that ambulances are available for those who need them most.”
Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve is also a time when staff find themselves on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse.
Stephen added: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we have a zero-tolerance approach so will prosecute anyone who is offensive towards our staff who are there to help people in need.”