SOUTH Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is urging people to think about the support they need before dialing 999 this winter.
The trust says members of the public need to use the local ambulance service appropriately so resources remain available to respond to life-threatening medical emergencies.
It says choosing the right place to go for treatment will ensure you get the right care as soon as possible, and using an alternative to accident and emergency when not seriously ill could mean you end up waiting less time to receive care.
People are advised to call 999 for chest pain, choking, blackout, cardiac arrest, heart attack, severe blood loss, strong, and severe breathing difficulty.
John Nichols, chief operation officer of SCAS, said: ‘Traditionally winter is an extremely difficult time for the ambulance service.
‘Icy roads and pavements together with winter driving conditions and people drinking irresponsibly, especially in the run-up to seasonal celebrations, often mean that our resources are extremely stretched.
‘Members of the public can help us reach the patients in the greatest need by not calling us in less urgent medical situations and considering care providers that may be more appropriate to their medical needs.
‘Please choose well, use the ambulance service wisely and only call us in a medical emergency.’