Plea from ambulance service over emergency call-outs

By Harriet Ernstsons Tuesday 27 November 2012 Updated: 28/11 00:13

AMBULANCE bosses have issued a plea to residents only to call on their services in an emergency situation.

Each year, the amount of 999 calls made rises significantly when the weather gets colder but only ten per cent of the calls received by West Midlands Ambulance Service are for life-threatening conditions.

Barry Thurston, director of service delivery, said fewer than two thirds of people seen by ambulance staff ended up being taken to hospital, with almost a third treated at the scene and six per cent not needing an ambulance at all. Instead they are given advice by an experienced paramedic or recommended to seek help from another source such as a GP or minor injuries unit.

"If residents dial 999 for a problem which is not a genuine emergency, then they could be delaying our ambulances and rapid response vehicles getting to someone who is suffering from a life-threatening condition.

"Ultimately, making a call about a less serious condition could put someone else's life at risk. That is why we are asking if you are a life saver or a time waster."

Emergency services should always be called in a genuine emergency such as choking, chest pain, difficulty breathing, serious blood loss, stroke or unconsciousness.

Visit www.wmas.nhs.uk or log on to the service's Facebook and Twitter sites for more information about how to access appropriate medical help.

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