999 plea as cold snap continues

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With forecasts of potentially adverse weather conditions in the region over the next few days, bosses at the East of England Ambulance Service are calling on the public to use common sense and only call 999 for a true emergency need.

Below-freezing temperatures and the threat of snow and icy conditions in parts of the east of England means the public should prepare themselves as best as possible and reduce the need to use the ambulance service. This includes ensuring they are stocked up on medication for long-term conditions, or minor coughs, colds and other ailments, and take all necessary steps to stay safe, warm and well. Pedestrians and motorists should also take care when out and about because of potentially icy conditions and freezing temperatures.

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “As we know from past experience, road conditions can become extremely hazardous and we are relying on the public’s good sense to use the 999 service wisely which will help us to respond to people who need our assistance for true emergencies.

“We have resources in place to meet the challenge that any bad weather might throw at the region; but if people reduce their risk of illness, injury, and exposure to the cold, we are more readily available for the life-threatening and serious emergencies that we’re here for.

“The public can also help the ambulance service by choosing the right healthcare service for their needs, such as ringing NHS Direct for advice on 0845 4647 or contacting their local doctor’s surgery. Those within distance of an NHS GP led walk-in centre or minor injury unit should go there for treatment for minor illness and injury of the kind you would normally go to your GP or pharmacy about.

Remember, always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, for example:

* chest pain

* difficulty in breathing

* unconsciousness

* severe loss of blood

* severe burns or scalds

* choking

* fitting or concussion

* drowning

* severe allergic reaction

* If you suspect a stroke (Do the FAST test - Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped? Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms? Speech problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Time to call 999.)