25 August 2015 - Help Us To Keep Ambulances Free For Emergencies

As the August bank holiday approaches many will be looking forward to enjoying some time with family and friends. Yet, for hardworking staff at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) the bank holiday weekend means a significant increase in calls for incidents that could easily be avoided.

The Trust prepares for the additional demand and deploys additional resources, but is also urging the public to play their part and help keep ambulances free for those who have genuine life-threatening emergency conditions such as cardiac arrests, breathing problems and strokes.

Examples of calls that the Trust received last August bank holiday which were not an emergency include; a patient whose contact lens hurt, someone with a blister on their foot, another person that had a bent toe and said they couldn’t walk and someone else had trapped their finger in the door. While an ambulance is not sent to these types of calls, they do stop other emergency calls coming through, delaying the help for those seriously ill and life-threatening patients.

Those with minor illnesses and injuries who might not know where to seek alternative medical care when their GP practice is closed may think that by calling 999 and arriving at hospital in an ambulance will get them seen and treated quicker, this is not the case.

Instead it is always best to plan ahead for any health needs for you or your loved ones by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. If you do require medical advice or treatment, this can be provided by your nearest urgent care centre, pharmacist, or by calling NHS 111, which will often be faster to get the help you need.

Ged Blezard, Interim Director of Operations at NWAS said: “So far this year the Trust has seen a growing rise in calls for every bank holiday weekend, as there was an increase of 11 per cent in calls for the spring bank holiday at the end of the May compared to the previous May Day holiday weekend at the start of the month.

“Quite rightly bank holidays are a time of celebration and great fun as people unwind and enjoy their time away from work. Although we want everyone to enjoy themselves we urge them to do so responsibly.

“If drinking make sure you also have regular soft drinks and also keep a look out for one another, never leave a vulnerable friend alone. Also when out and about check the weather forecast and plan your activities accordingly.

“If it’s not an emergency don’t call 999, please think of how you can help yourself and others or even better avoid the injury or illness in the first place.”