Appeal over pre-Christmas 999 calls

PUBLISHED: 18:47 13 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:53 17 June 2010

SOUTH Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust has issued a pre-Christmas appeal to the public to think twice before dialling 999.

SOUTH Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust has issued a pre-Christmas appeal to the public to think twice before dialling 999.

The service is always busy in the run up to the festive break, but this year calls are up by 17 per cent when compared with the same period in 2007.

An NHS spokesperson said the vast majority of people dial 999 because there is a genuine medical emergency, but a small number call even if they are only mildly ill - with a head cold or sore throat.

He added: "The 999 service is an emergency one and is for life threatening situations only,"

"Non emergency calls not only waste our time, they also put other people's lives at risk.

"Christmas is a time to think of others so please do your bit now by finding out what NHS services are available in your local area.

"Be informed - save a life."

Other options include visiting a local treatment centre or minor injury unit. Details of these are usually available in the Yellow Pages or BT phone book.

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