Ambulance service's increase in calls due to cold weather
Freezing conditions over the weekend saw East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) deal with 900 more calls than during the same period last year.
Between Thursday and and Sunday, the 999 service received 6,335 calls, compared to 5,395 over the same dates in 2012.
Of these calls, 1,118 related to falls and 140 to road traffic incidents.
Forward planning measures such as installing winter tyres across our fleet and partnering with organisations such as the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance to pool 4x4 vehicles means EMAS is well placed to deal with the demands of the weather.
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EMAS is grateful for the support from all first responders and co-responders who are despatched to calls in their community by EMAS.
In an emergency seconds count and these volunteers have continued to be on call despite difficult weather conditions. First and Co-Responders work in partnership with EMAS clinicians and can begin first-aid such as CPR until an ambulance arrives.
Yet, the service is making a plea to the public to help them cope with the huge spike in calls by only dialling 999 for emergencies and the most serious illnesses.
They're reminding people that 999 calls are dealt with according to clinical priority so that those with the most serious conditions such as suspected heart attacks or strokes are always seen first. www.emas.nhs.uk
Those who dial 999 with minor complaints will receive quicker, more appropriate treatment from other NHS services such as minor injuries units, walk-in centres or their GP.
Paul StClair, EMAS' Deputy Director of Operations, said: "We are receiving a huge volume of calls through our control centres in Nottingham and Lincoln.
"This includes dealing with road traffic accidents across the patch and the impact of the cold weather on the elderly and those with existing medical conditions.
"I'm proud of the fantastic job our staff are doing in assisting patients despite difficult weather conditions.
"To ensure we can continue to help those in the most need we need the public's support. Please only dial 999 in genuine emergencies such as severe loss of blood, loss of consciousness, chest pains and fitting."
More than 1,000 calls received since last Thursday were for conditions where people could have received help from other NHS services such as NHS Direct or their local out-of-hours GP service.
Just 1,837 of all calls received during the four days of snow and ice were immediately life-threatening.
To find out about NHS health services local to you visit www.nhs.uk
If you or are a family member and unwell and you're unsure which service you need call NHS Direct for advice and information on 0845 4647.