Ambulance chiefs in appeal over 999 calls

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Ambulance chiefs last night renewed their plea for people to dial 999 only in an emergency as crews deal with record numbers of calls.

Bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service say demand on most days in December has been the equivalent of New Year’s Eve which is traditionally the busiest day of the year.

Crews have already responded to 3,000 more patients in December – an increase of 15 per cent in the number calling with potentially life-threatening problems.

David Williams, deputy director of operations at the trust, said extra resources had been drafted in to cope with the excessive demand but warned 999 calls for trivial incidents and minor conditions were “potentially putting those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries at risk”.

He said: “We continue to urge members of the public only to call us when someone requires 
immediate medical assistance 
for a condition such as a heart 
attack or stroke and ask that people who simply need advice or treatment for minor illnesses and injuries or transport to hospital consider the other services available.

“The 999 service should only be used for serious medical emergencies and to ensure that our valuable resources can reach those most in need quickly, we need members of the public to play their part and use the service responsibly.”

He said it was expected the increase in demand would continue over the weekend and New Year.

On New Year’s Eve a series of initiatives would be in place to ensure those with alcohol-related illnesses and injuries did not place too much pressure on paramedic and A&E services.