‘Be careful as lockdown eases’ warns ambulance service

PEOPLE are being asked not to make unnecessary 999 calls as lockdown eases.

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) has dealt with a noticeable increase in emergency incidents since March 29 when the stay-at-home rule was removed.

The Government also allowed non-essential retail, personal care premises and outdoor hospitality to reopen on April 12. It may ease limits further, including on indoor gatherings from May 17, according to its lockdown roadmap.

A spokesperson for the service said: “SWASFT is anticipating periods of higher demand for the 999 service during the upcoming months as other restrictions are lifted.

“It is considering its activity forecasts to ensure it has appropriate levels of resources to respond to patients across the region.

“SWASFT is asking people to contact 111 for urgent medical problems, and only to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.”

Specialist Paramedic Paul Kimberley said: “We’ve all been through challenging times during the past year. Now we’ve got freedom to see friends and families safely outdoors, and do some other things.

“During this period of transition, I would encourage everyone to continue doing all they can to keep themselves and others safe. This includes following the ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ guidance, and abiding by the restrictions still in place.

“If you think you have a medical need, please consider contacting 111, and save the 999 service for life-threatening emergencies.

“People should call 999 for an ambulance in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. For example: if someone has stopped breathing, is unconscious or has serious bleeding.

“People who have an urgent medical problem and aren’t sure what to do should contact NHS 111.”

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