Ambulance service urges people to take extra care in wintry weather

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People are being reminded to take extra care as wintry weather arrives in the region and snow and ice take hold.

With snowfall, hazardously icy conditions and freezing temperatures, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is urging people to keep themselves and others safe when they are out and about this weekend and to only call 999 for an ambulance in an absolute emergency.

The Trust said it is continuing to receive a high volume of 999 calls for seasonal illnesses and incidents.

With snow and ice on the ground, they are expecting a marked increase in weather-related slips, trips and falls and road traffic collisions today (Saturday), Sunday and into next week, as people are travel to continue their Christmas festivities or go shopping – all of which will put additional pressure on the service.

The region’s NHS 111 urgent care telephone service, run by Yorkshire Ambulance Service, is also experiencing a high volume of calls and is appealing to people to be

patient while waiting for the phone to be answered and for call-backs from clinicians.

Dr David Macklin, Executive Director of Operations, said: “We have tried and tested plans in place to ensure that we can operate effectively in the adverse weather conditions but ask that members of the public continue to use the service wisely.

“We don’t want to deter people from calling 999 in serious cases such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or stroke for example and please be reassured that we are focusing our efforts on reaching patients with life-threatening illnesses and serious injuries as a priority.

“Our staff are working extremely hard to get to people who call upon us for help as quickly and as safely as possible but, understandably, hazardous driving conditions may mean that it takes us a little longer than normal to reach patients in the worst-hit areas.

“Please take extra care when out driving or walking and, where possible, avoid travelling at all in icy or snowy conditions.

“If you do have to go out, ensure that you wear appropriate footwear and warm clothing.

“Also, please check on elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours to ensure they are safe and well.

“Our NHS 111 service is also under pressure and we are asking everyone to be patient as it is taking longer than usual for calls to be answered and for our clinical staff to ring callers back.”