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Public urged not to call ambulance at Christmas unless a genuine emergency

People should stock up on regular medicines and contact other services for minor illnesses

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The public are being urged to only call an ambulance in a genuine emergency over the Christmas period.  

The call comes from the London Ambulance Service. Those with a minor illnesses or injury, should consider calling NHS 111, or going to a pharmacist, walk-in centre or GP.

Patients who take regular medicines are being urged to stock up their medicine cabinets before the Christmas break when pharmacists will be closed to prevent ambulances being called to help people who have run out of their medication.

On Christmas day last year ambulance staff attended 2,682 incidents across London. These ranged from treating people who have overindulged or drunk too much alcohol to helping frail elderly patients who have fallen over and have nobody else to call.

Emergency Medical Technician Gemma White, based at Newham in London, said: “I’ve worked on Christmas day for the last 10 years and I’ve found there are always more incidents in people’s homes as they don’t tend to go out as much. Examples include people who’ve drunk too much, burnt themselves cooking the dinner, or have been taken unwell. I also remember going to an elderly lady who had fallen badly at her home the night before and had only been found on Christmas day. For some people, we might be the only people they see on Christmas day.”

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