The North West Ambulance Service is currently seeing an unprecedented surge in the number of 999 calls being received across the whole North West region.

Acting Director of Operations, Derek Cartwright comments: “At the moment we are seeing a large increase in the number of 999 calls bring received. Requests for an emergency ambulance are up 18% compared to this time last year.

“We expect to see and plan for increases of this level during times like Christmas and during periods of severe weather, but currently the majority of calls being received are from genuinely ill people.

“We would like to reassure the public that potentially life threatening incidents will obviously take priority, however for calls which are not urgent, patients may have to wait a little longer for an emergency response or, once triaged by our system, could be passed onto NHS Direct.

“People should not be afraid to ring us if they need emergency assistance and we would urge people who are on long-term medication to ensure they renew their prescriptions regularly, take them as prescribed and take care. If you qualify for a flu jab, please speak with your GP. Keep warm, drink plenty of fluids.

“For those with minor conditions, we ask that you consider what alternatives there are such as your local pharmacy, GP or walk in centre.”

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