THE Welsh Ambulance Service is urging the public to use its services wisely over the four-day Easter weekend.

The Bank Holiday weekend follows a four-day period of industrial action by junior doctors in Wales, which started at 7am on Monday, March 25 until 7am on Friday, March 29.

This industrial action, coupled with the traditional pressures faced by the Welsh Ambulance Service and the wider NHS system over the Easter period, means that waiting times at emergency departments and in the community may be longer than usual.

The Trust is reminding the public about the alternatives to 999 to protect its precious resources for those who need them most.

  • Collect any repeat prescriptions before the four-day weekend
  • Ensure you have a fully-stocked first aid kit to treat minor ailments at home
  • Test your symptoms on the NHS 111 Wales website, or call 111 if you are unsure
  • Visit your local pharmacy, where qualified healthcare professionals can offer free clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of common ailments
  • Visit a Minor Injury Unit for injuries which are not serious  

Members of the public are also being encouraged to keep an eye on any elderly or vulnerable family, friends or neighbours and to check their medicine cabinets are stocked with useful and in-date medication.

Judith Bryce, assistant director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “As ever, we’re expecting the Bank Holiday period to be a busy one for us and that’s why we’re asking for everyone’s help to make sure we’re there for those who are the most seriously ill or injured over the Easter period.

“If you call us for something which is not an emergency, you could be taking away valuable time and resources from someone who is in a genuine, life-threatening emergency.

“People should also understand that just because you call an ambulance or are taken to hospital by ambulance, does not mean that you will be treated any quicker once you arrive at the emergency department.

“So, please help us to help you and consider the range of other services available to you.”