YOU don’t need an ambulance if you stubbed your toe.
If you have toothache, what you need is a dentist.
But these are some of the types of calls West Midlands Ambulance Service gets; cases that can be better dealt with elsewhere, leaving them to save those whose lives are genuinely at risk.
West Midlands Ambulance Service gets up to 3,000 ‘999’ calls every day, approximately ten percent of which are genuinely life-threatening.
They are there to deal quickly and efficiently with cardiac arrests, strokes, serious blood loss, chest pain or states of unconsciousness.
What else can you do and where else can you go?
1: Self care – Stock-up with over-the-counter medicine including sticking plasters.
2: See your local chemist – they can advise on and provide treatments and medications.
3: Call 111 – it’s a free call.
4: Visit a ‘walk-in’ centre, urgent care centre or minor injury unit. You don’t need an appointment.
5: See your GP: Every GP has an out-of-hours service. Call the surgery number.
If control rooms and ambulance crews are dealing with relatively minor conditions, they may not be able to get to the patients with genuine life-threatening illness or injury as quickly as they would want, which ultimately could put lives at risk.