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Ambulance service's bank holiday plea to Norfolk people

PUBLISHED: 07:30 29 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 01 July 2010

Jon Welch

The ambulance service is urging the public to consider using alternative ways to get treatment and avoid putting the 999 service under strain over the bank holiday weekend.

The ambulance service is urging the public to consider using alternative ways to get treatment and avoid putting the 999 service under strain over the bank holiday weekend.

People are being urged to help ensure services run as smoothly as possible by thinking carefully about whether they really need to access urgent or emergency care.

People are also being advised to ensure they are stocked up on their medication, particularly if they manage a long-term condition, to avoid any complications and the chances of needing to call 999.

Neil Storey, associate director of emergency operations for East of England Ambulance Service, said: “Traditionally we see a higher number of 999 calls over the Bank Holiday weekend which puts the ambulance service under additional pressure.

“We want people to ensure they're being safe so that they don't require treatment in the first place, but should they find themselves in a situation where they need medical attention, they should consider whether it's an emergency or not.

“Over the bank holiday period, people with minor illness or complaints should consider calling NHS Direct (0845 4647), or visiting a local walk-in centre or local pharmacy. They should also consider whether they can get alternative transport to their local accident and emergency department if they need to attend.”

Minor ailments, such as coughs, toothache, skin complaints and bruises can be dealt with by alternative NHS services, but patients must ring 999 if the situation is life-threatening or serious, including chest pains, heavy blood loss, suspected stroke, difficulty in breathing and unconsciousness or fitting.

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