With our emergency operations centres receiving a particularly high level of calls over the last few months, it’s important people think before they dial 999 and consider whether they could receive more appropriate treatment elsewhere.
NWAS takes over one million 999 calls a year. Unfortunately, anytime someone rings us needlessly it risks those who really need us having to wait longer.
This year we’ve had callers complaining of a splinter in their finger, a stubbed toe, demanding an operation for a boil on their bottom and because a bandage on their head slipped slightly. In addition one patient already in hospital called 999 wanting medical advice.
Ged Blezard, Director of Operations said, “We understand that people do need help and panic when something is worrying them however, this is a busy time for the ambulance service and as the pandemic continues and weather gets colder we need the public to use common sense so that we can help people who need us most.
“Phoning 999 doesn’t automatically get you an ambulance. All calls are handled by experienced staff and triaged so you’ll receive the right care from the right service. The ambulance service is there for you when you need us the most, so please help us to help you by only dialing 999 in emergencies and life-threatening situations.”
Examples of genuine emergencies include cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, confused state, fits that aren’t stopping, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, severe allergic reactions, burns and scalds, suspected stroke, suspected heart attack, fall from height, serious head injury, stabbing, shooting and serious road traffic incidents.
For medical help when it is not an emergency, use NHS 111 Online, contact your GP or speak to your local pharmacist.