Stay safe during the festive period urges Ambulance Service

The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) wishes the public of the North West a Happy Christmas and New Year but urges them to stay safe and act responsibly during the festivities.

As always, the Service will be on hand over the festive period to help those who need urgent medical care and they are urging the public to pay special attention to those around them and look after elderly or frail relatives, neighbours and friends.

The Ambulance Service is also asking the public to think before calling 999 over this busy period for anything other than serious or potentially life-threatening incidents. The Service sees a year on year increase in activity over the festive period and historically, the service receives a number of calls which are not emergencies, as well as a high volume of alcohol related calls which could be avoided.

Derek Cartwright, Acting Director of Operations explained: “The holiday period and New Year’s Eve in particular is undoubtedly our busiest time of year and we expect that this year will be no exception.

“We are confident that the public will act sensibly and call us for genuine emergencies only, our message is simple – as we approach our busiest time of year, help us to help you and remember lives could be put at risk if ambulances are used to deal with non-emergencies. If you are experiencing, for example, chest pain, breathing difficulties, stroke symptoms or severe bleeding please do not hesitate to dial 999 immediately.   Examples of 999 calls received last Christmas where we believe the incident could have been avoided:

Christmas Eve:   23.37 19 year old male feels sick and bunged up. Manchester 23.56 64 year old male broke foot in early 2011, now unable to weight bear. Manchester 20.37 9 year old male been drinking now vomiting. Manchester 21.26 Male 50, with mouth infection Liverpool 18.00 Female banged toe Liverpool 01.24 21 year old male burn on sunbed Cumbria 02.24 Male kicked out and thinks he broken his foot. Cumbria 19.24 Male cut through wire, minor electric shock Cumbria 21.47 16 year old male drunk Cheshire 08.44 22 year old female dropped milk bottle and cut hand. Cheshire 23.44 40 year old male threatening to smash up home Lancashire 22.39 24 year old female hurt leg whilst dancing Lancashire

Christmas Day   11.51 41 year old female hurt leg on trampoline Manchester 19.25 Male run out of medication Liverpool 22.17 Drunk male punched window Cumbria 22.20 39 year old female fallen off table Cheshire 22.19 13 year old male drunk on street Lancashire 18.01 Female with diarrhoea Manchester 03.25 42 year old male with leg cramp Cumbria 00.37 Male fallen of bicycle, rang ambulance then left scene Cheshire

Boxing Day   22.46 34 year old man complaining of leg pain after being bitten by a dog the previous week. Manchester 19.44 Oil splashed on hand whilst cooking Liverpool 01.25 Male cut hand, but refused treatment on arrival Cumbria 02.07 15 year old male intoxicated Cheshire 22.41 12 year old male intoxicated Lancashire 21.40 21 year old male fallen over sofa, refused on arrival Cheshire 16.01 Male with swollen ankle Liverpool 00.34 12 year old boy unconscious though alcohol Cheshire

Derek added: “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 so they don’t run out of essential medication over the festive period.

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

“We make sure our cars and houses are winter proof and we need to do the same with our health. As well as de-icer for our cars and salt for our paths, we should all have a well-stocked medicine cabinet for the winter months with items such as paracetamol, stomach powders, sore throat remedies and basic first aid items.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy time over the holiday period – please take care of yourself and those around you.”

For clinical advice over the holiday, you can contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit their website

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