PARAMEDICS are issuing a reminder to people to be considerate before calling the emergency services over this busy bank holiday weekend.

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is estimating that there will be more than 10,690 incidents over the four-day weekend. This busy time for the service is a result of more people being expected to visit the area.

The service's paramedics are urging people to think carefully before calling 999 and to consider whether their situation warrants an emergency call so that their resources can be focused where they are most needed.

Chief Executive for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Ken Wenman, said: "As the August bank holiday approaches us we are predicting a busy time ahead.

"Although we have more resources out, we only have a finite number of ambulances and highly-trained paramedic crews available. This means we will, as always, prioritise and focus on those patients in a time-critical life-threatening condition.

"We’re committed to delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time for the 5.5 million residents and an estimated 23 million visitors we serve in our region. But we’d like to ask the public to stop and think ‘is this an emergency?’ before dialing 999."

The Trust is imploring people to only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency, and is promoting this message with the hashtag #ChooseWell.

SWASFT will have more staff and vehicles at the ready to meet the expected increase in demand, and is advising people to consider alternate treatments in non-life-threatening scenarios.

The Trust suggests that people visit a pharmacy (during opening hours), a Minor Injuries Unit (MRU), an NHS walk-in centre, or call NHS111 in instances which are less serious and not life-threatening.

People are also reminded to stock up on medicines and repeat prescriptions, as many pharmacies may not be open for as many hours during the bank holiday.

Examples cited of when a 999 call would be justified include choking, chest pain, stroke, serious blood loss and unconsciousness.

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