Use 999 responsibly, say medics

MEMBERS of the public are today being urged to use 999 only in a true emergency - as paramedics prepare to be run off their feet.

MEMBERS of the public are today being urged to use 999 only in a true emergency - as paramedics prepare to be run off their feet.

With forecasts of adverse weather conditions in the region this week, bosses at the East of England Ambulance Service are calling on the public to use common sense when reaching for the phone.

Below-freezing temperatures and the threat of snow and icy conditions in parts of the east of England means the public should prepare themselves as best as possible, thereby reducing the need to use the ambulance service.

This includes ensuring they are stocked up on medication for long-term conditions, or minor coughs, colds and other ailments, and take all necessary steps to stay safe, warm and well.

Pedestrians and motorists should also think twice about making journeys, so as to avoid road accidents, slips and falls.

David Donegan, chief operating officer for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “As we know from the past few weeks, road conditions can become extremely hazardous and we are relying on the public's good sense to use the 999 service wisely, which will help us to respond to people who need our assistance for true emergencies.

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“We have resources in place to meet the challenge that the bad weather will throw at the region, but if people reduce their risk of illness, injury, and exposure to the cold, we are more readily available for the life-threatening and serious emergencies that we're here for.”

He added: “If anyone is in any doubt about whether they need a 999 response they should ring NHS Direct for advice on 0845 4647 or contact their local doctor's surgery.

“Those within distance of an NHS GP led walk-in centre or minor injury unit should go there for treatment for minor illness and injury of the kind you would normally go to your GP or pharmacy about.

“We are also particularly asking drivers to avoid unnecessary journeys but if they have to venture out, even on a relatively short journey, to be fully prepared for the conditions.”