Ambulance bosses are again appealing for people in the region to use their emergency service wisely as they complete their final preparations for what is traditionally the busiest night of the year - New Year’s Eve.
Dr Julian Mark, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, warns that 999 calls for trivial incidents and minor conditions can potentially put those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries at risk by diverting ambulances elsewhere.
He said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s night but we are asking those who are out and about on New Year’s Eve to think before each drink and stay safe to ensure they don’t put their own health or that of others at risk. We want everyone to enjoy their celebrations safely and sensibly.
“People can help themselves to have an enjoyable night and stay well. All it requires is to be aware of how much you’re drinking, eat beforehand, plan ahead for transport home and look after yourself and your friends.
“Please leave your car at home, use public transport or arrange alternative transport such as a taxi. If you are going to a party and know you’re going to be driving the next day, know your limits. You can choose lower strength drinks and drink single rather than double measures of spirits. It’s also a good idea to alternate the alcoholic drinks you do have with soft drinks or water and stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so you are free of the effects of alcohol by the following morning.
“Most of all please remember that the 999 number should only be used in serious medical emergencies and people should use the service responsibly to help ensure that our valuable resources are available for those who need them most.”
On New Year’s Eve the ambulance service is running various initiatives across the county to ensure people with alcohol-related illnesses and injuries don’t place too much pressure on the service and on hospital emergency departments. This includes establishing community medical units in Leeds, Sheffield and Doncaster and the use of police and paramedic teams in busy town and city centres across the region.
Dr Mark said: “If New Year’s Eve this year mirrors those of previous years we will also have staff who find themselves on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse.
“This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will prosecute anyone who is offensive towards our staff who are there to help people in need.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service is also reminding people who require treatment or advice for a minor illness or injury to consider other more appropriate healthcare services available to them such as self-care, pharmacists, GP surgeries, urgent care centres or NHS 111 and only to call 999 when someone is in need of time-critical life-saving help.
Details on where to find the most appropriate help can be found on the Trust’s website: http://www.yas.nhs.uk/Calling999/Choose_Well.html.