AMBULANCE service chiefs are urging people to stock up on essential medication ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend.
With doctor’s surgeries and pharmacies set to close for the break, they are concerned people will end up piling more pressure on paramedics and A&E staff.
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) often sees an increase in 999 calls for minor illnesses and injuries over bank holidays.
Last Easter weekend, it received more than 13,000 999 calls and of those, 8.3 per cent were advised on how to self-care and an ambulance was not sent.
Calls received during Easter weekend last year that didn’t require an emergency response included, a trapped finger, a spot on the bottom, a toe injury and groin pain.
Emergency operation centre sector manager, Peter Ballan said: “We tend to see an increase in calls around the holiday periods as many people don’t know what alternative care is available when their GP practice is closed.
“Wherever possible we aim to encourage self-care at home for minor ailments and therefore it is important to keep a well-stocked medicine cupboard including essentials such as: paracetamol; antihistamines; anti-diarrhoea tablets; indigestion treatment; sunscreen; and a first aid kit.
“Information on a wide range of common health problems can be found on www.nhs.uk and patients can receive non-emergency medical advice by dialling 111 24 hours a day.”
As many pharmacies and chemists will be closed over the bank holiday weekend, the ambulance trust also urges people to collect any prescriptions they will need in plenty of time to keep themselves as healthy as possible to make the most of the Easter break.
An NAS spokesman said: “As always, the service will be on hand to attend emergencies but asks the public to think twice before dialling 999 and remember that it should only be called for life-threatening or potentially life-threatening emergencies.”