999 calls higher in March because of cold weather
3:35pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
SOUTH Western Ambulance Service is dealing with a 16 per cent increase in 999 calls this March compared to last year because of the continuing cold weather.
It responded to 15,691 emergency calls in the week of March 4, up almost 2,180 on the same week last year. The following week saw 1,735 more than the previous year.
Director of delivery Norma Lane said: “In recent weeks, ambulance services nationally have seen demand around what we would expect at New Year, traditionally the busiest time of the year, with weekends proving particularly busy.
“This is partly due to the continuing cold weather which can seriously affect patients with ongoing respiratory and chest conditions. Our advice to these patients is to contact their GP during surgery hours to ensure they have enough prescription medicines – meaning they are less likely to dial 999.”
Patients with less serious conditions are being urged to keep a supply of over-the-counter cold and flu medications at home, use the NHS Choices website or visit their local pharmacist.
She added: “This will also ensure that our resources are available for those who really need an ambulance response. Of course, if people believe their situation is an emergency, they should still dial 999 or attend an A&E unit.”