999 staff braced for busiest night of the year

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Ambulance chiefs in Yorkshire are urging people to only call 999 in serious medical emergencies on New Year’s Eve - the service’s busiest night of year.

Bosses at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have warned that those dialing 999 on Thursday with minor conditions can divert ambulances away from people with life-threatening illnesses.

Dr David Macklin, executive director of operations at the trust, urged people to drink sensibly and stay safe during New Year’s celebrations.

The service, which provides emergency care across the region, has advised people to leave cars at home, use public or alternative transport, and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water.

Dr Macklin said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s celebrations but we are asking those who are out and about on New Year’s Eve to drink sensibly and stay safe to ensure they don’t put their own health or that of others at risk.

“Please be aware of how much you’re drinking, eat beforehand, plan ahead for transport home and look after yourself and your friends.

“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.”

The trust also urged those celebrating to respect medical staff and said ambulance workers have been physically and verbally abused in previous years.

Dr Macklin added: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will prosecute anyone who is offensive towards our staff who are there to help people in need.”

Anyone with problems including chest pain, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness should always dial 999.

For more information about when to call for an ambulance, or the service, click here

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