THE Welsh Ambulance Service is asking the public to stay safe and use 999 responsibly this New Year’s Eve. Ahead of one of its busiest nights of the year, the Trust is asking people to take the following precautions to keep themselves well –


·       Stock up on prescription medications before the three-day weekend when GP surgeries will be closed.

·       Consume alcohol in moderation, eating before you drink and alternating alcoholic beverages with soft drinks.

·       Pre-arrange your transport home, and never drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

·       Avoid high-risk activities like fireworks – as well as burns, smoke inhalation from bonfires and fireworks can also irritate respiratory conditions, like asthma.

·       Ensure you have a fully stocked first aid kit to care for minor injuries at home, including remedies for common ailments like coughs, sore throats and diarrhoea.

·       Take extra care during the cold weather to avoid slips, trips and falls, and accidents on the road.

·       Look out for family, friends and neighbours who are especially vulnerable.

·       If you’re ill or injured and unsure what to do, visit the NHS 111 Wales website to check your symptoms to find out what’s wrong and the next steps to take.


Judith Bryce, Assistant Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “New Year’s Eve is always a very busy time for us, and this year is likely to be no exception given the level of demand we have seen so far this month.


“The number of immediately life-threatening ‘Red’ calls we’ve had in the last seven days remains very high, while demand on our NHS 111 Wales service has seen us answer 25% more calls compared to the same period last year.


“The health system is under significant pressure currently and we all have a part to play in ensuring that we protect our precious resources for those who need them most – please act responsibly and help us to help you.


“Remember that 999 is for emergencies only so if it’s not an emergency but you need medical help or want reassurance, the NHS 111 Wales website should be your first port of call for advice, information and next steps.”


The Trust is also asking the public to treat emergency workers with respect.


Judith said: “At a time where many people will be enjoying the revelry of the season and consuming alcohol, please consider those who are working hard to keep people safe and treat our ambulance workers with the respect they deserve.


“We know it’s distressing when you’re waiting for help, but abusing our call handlers is not the answer – if anything, it could potentially delay help.


“And on the road, crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their safety is compromised, and that’s not helpful for anyone, especially the patient.


“Emergency workers are normal human beings just trying to do a job – they’re there to help you, so please do not make their jobs harder than they already are by subjecting them to any kind of abusive behaviour.


“We wish everybody an enjoyable evening and health in the year ahead.”