Ambulance Staff Overloaded With 999 Calls

Heart's found out the ambulance service in Hampshire has been overloaded with 999 calls over the past few days and they tell us it's been one of their busiest periods ever - even more than New Years Eve last year.

They've been taking around 600 calls a day. Some have been serious but a lot are for minor things like coughs and colds.

South Central Ambulance Service says winter is historically a busy time of the year for the NHS. They're asking members of the public to take the following advice and help to them get the right treatment.

The service is encouraging members of the public to take the following advice during the Christmas and New Year period:

* Before dialling 999 THINK about whether you need an ambulance.

* Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases - The flu virus is very prevalent at the moment please ensure that you take care of disposing of your tissues and wash your hands properly! Ensure that if you are in the ‘at risk’ groups you take advantage of getting your flu jab.

* Many everyday illnesses can be easily treated at home. You can attend a local walk in centre, talk to your out of hours GP service, speak to a pharmacist or speak to NHS Direct on or by telephoning 0845 46 47

* Please enjoy the festive season but drink responsibly. Accidents can happen when you are under the influence of alcohol, and although overindulging is not a reason in itself to call for an ambulance, if you or a friend is injured as aresult and sustain serious injury or loose consciousness then phone 999 immediately.

* Please take care when walking or driving anywhere.Due to the recent inclement weather, some areas are still incredibly icy! Please ensure thatyou only go out if it is absolutely necessary. Roads and pavements continue to be icy so itis important to leave more time for your journey. Properly de-ice your car and ensure thatyou have all the necessary safety precautions and if you are walking wear safe shoes with sturdy grip.

* If you take prescription medication and will be away during the festive period make sureyou take your medication with you and enough to the last the duration of your stay.

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