Residents in Lichfield and Burntwood urged to use 999 appropriately

West Midlands Ambulance Service's emergency operations centre staff Katie Howse, Zak Sheikh and Mandy Ward

West Midlands Ambulance Service's emergency operations centre staff Katie Howse, Zak Sheikh and Mandy Ward

West Midlands Ambulance Service is urging people in Lichfield and Burntwood to mark 999 Day by making a pledge to use their ambulance service appropriately.

Although the ambulance service is primarily here to provide care to people who have suffered serious injuries or illnesses, this makes up only around 10 per cent of the work that the ambulance crews actually carry out.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh , said:

“The ninth day of the ninth month of 2009 seems an appropriate day to make an appeal to people in our region to do their bit to help all of the blue light emergency services by using them appropriately so that we can ensure we help those most in need of our assistance in as short a time as possible.

“Demand this year for the ambulance service is up very considerably on last year particularly in the most serious cases which are known as Category As. Call numbers are up 11.6 per cent on last year – a massive increase. Our staff are working really hard to ensure that patients receive the best treatment but the public must play their part in that process. We would urge people to take our advice and make sure you follow it to ensure that you get the most out of the NHS – that way you will get the right treatment, at the right time and in the right place for you.

“Often patients could have sought treatment or advice from another arm of the NHS, whether that be NHS Direct, the local pharmacy, a walk in centre or a call to their GP, who all operate an out of hours service. It is also a common occurrence that the patient could just as easily have asked a family member, or rung a taxi, to take them to the health service they need.”

 The public are urged to follow these guidelines to avoid the need to dial 999:

  • Step 1: Keep your own medicine cabinet stocked with common remedies for coughs, colds and headaches as well as items such as sticking plasters for minor wounds and grazes
  • Step 2: Visit your local pharmacy for over the counter medicines and advice
  • Step 3: Call NHS Direct for advice on 0845 46 47 or log onto their website at They can give a wide range of advice and information about many conditions · Step 4: Use a ‘walk-in’ treatment centre or visit a minor injuries unit.
  • Step 5: Make an appointment with your own GP. There is also an out-of-hours service available
  • Step 6: In an emergency go to your local A&E department or call 999 for an ambulance. If you are unfortunate enough to still need to dial 999, please remember to keep calm so that information can be recorded accurately and quickly.

Mr Marsh continued:

“Members of the public are asked to consider whether or not their call is of an urgent nature that requires an immediate medical response before dialling 999. Please only call the ambulance service in genuine emergencies and potentially life threatening situations. The service wants people to use a bit of common sense before dialling 999 and to use other health resources if appropriate.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.