Ambulance bosses are again appealing for people in the Bradford district to use the emergency service wisely as they continue to receive record numbers of 999 calls from people across the region.
During December the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust responded to 3,000 more patients than the same month in 2011 and also saw a 15 per cent increase in the number of people calling with a potentially life-threatening illness or injury.
David Williams, deputy director of operations at the Trust, said the deployment of extra resources had helped them 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.”
The ambulance service prioritises 999 calls to ensure they are able to reach the most seriously ill and injured patients first and all other calls are categorised as per the national guidelines, which means a target response of between 20 minutes to an hour.
Those with the most minor conditions will receive telephone advice or be redirected to a more appropriate service such as a walk-in centre or pharmacy.
Mr Williams added: “Most of all remember that the 999 number should only be used in serious medical emergencies.”
People who require treatment or advice for a minor condition should consider the variety of other healthcare services available to them and only to call 999 when someone is in need of time-critical help.
On New Year’s Eve the ambulance service ran various initiatives across the county to ensure people with alcohol-related illnesses and injuries didn’t place too much pressure on the service and on emergency departments in Yorkshire.