Public urged to think before they dial 999

Wed 31st December 2014


Only use your ambulance service in an emergency this New Year

Ambulance bosses are again appealing for people in the North East to use their emergency service wisely over the New Year.

New Year’s Eve in particular is traditionally the busiest night of the year for the service.

Last new year the service responded to over 2,400 incidents on the 31st December and 1st January, 690 of which were between 6pm on New Year’s Eve and 6am on New Year’s Day.

Chief Operating Officer Paul Liversidge warns that 999 calls for trivial incidents and minor conditions can potentially put those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries at risk by diverting ambulances elsewhere.

He said:  “We ask that people who are celebrating tonight think before each drink and stay safe – don’t put yourselves or others at risk.  Please drink sensibly – you can still have a good time. Be aware of how much you’re drinking, eat beforehand, plan transport home, get well wrapped up and look after yourself and your friends.

“Please leave your car at home and if you know you’re going to be driving the next day, know your limits and make sure you are free of the effects of alcohol by the time you get behind the wheel.

“Lastly, remember that the 999 number should only be used in serious medical emergencies.  Our valuable resources must be available for those who need them most. Your hangover shouldn’t cost somebody else’s life.”

On New Year’s Eve the ambulance service is running various initiatives across the region to ensure people with alcohol-related illnesses and injuries don’t place too much pressure on the Service and on hospital emergency departments.

People who require treatment or advice for a minor illness or injury should consider other more appropriate healthcare services available to them such as self-care, pharmacists, GP surgeries, urgent care centres or NHS 111.  Only call 999 when someone is in need of time-critical life-saving help.   For more information about NHS services available near you visit NHS Choices at

Examples of medical emergencies include chest pain, difficulty in breathing, unconsciousness, severe loss of blood, severe burns, choking, fitting or concussion, drowning and severe allergic reactions.

A regional Keep Calm campaign aims to help provide people with more information about what to do in a non-emergency.

Visit for further information. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @keepcalmne