The ambulance service for Northamptonshire fielded more calls in one night last weekend than during last year’s New Year celebrations.
East Midlands Ambulance Service said Saturday was its fifth -busiest day on record and making it a real challenge for the services resources to get to people quickly.
And, as Christmas and New Year gets closer, demand is expected to increase.
EMAS is pleading with people to be careful about under what circumstances they dial 999.
Andy Swinburn, EMAS consultant paramedic said: “The number of calls has risen along with the number of ambulance responses made, however, the number of people who are being taken to hospital has not increased which tells us that many people may be using 999 inappropriately.
“We are receiving many calls from people who could have seen their GP or got same-day treatment from a pharmacy, minor injuries unit, self-care or by visiting an urgent care centre.”
On Saturday, calls included a patient with knee pain, a patient who had been suffering from
abdominal pain for 10 days without seeking medical help earlier, and a patient who had woken up with a dry mouth and sore throat.
Despite receiving an ambulance response, none of these patients were taken to hospital.
Mr Swinburn added: “People who should call our service include those reporting an incident where someone could die if they do not get fast help, this includes people in cardiac arrest, suffering a catastrophic bleed, experiencing chest pain or who are unconscious.
“Our team of highly-skilled clinicians need to be available to help people in life threatening or
“Patients who really do need our help are treated as a priority, and people who are not in an
emergency, will be further down the priority list as other life-threatening emergencies come in.
“It is also not true that arriving at A&E by ambulance will get you seen faster. Hospitals have
their own assessment systems in place and a patient with a fractured toe will wait just as long
as if they had made their own way to hospital.”