Ambulance service advice on alternatives to calling 999

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AS PEOPLE start to get into the Christmas party spirit, an ambulance trust is reminding people to only dial 999 in a genuine medical emergency.

Between November 26, and December 17, last year, South Central Ambulance Service received 35,389 emergency calls.

The service is reminding people to drink responsibly, and try the following places for further help:

n Call NHS Direct 24 hours a day on 0845 46 47.

n Call the out-of-hours GP service.

n Consult a pharmacist.

n Go to the nearest walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.

n Go to the accident and emergency department.

The service recommends that people only call for an ambulance for a genuine medical emergency, such as a serious accident, severe loss of blood, heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke, or if they are suffering from breathing difficulties.

Party-goers are also being reminded to know their drink limits and enjoy drinking responsibly.

People should:

n Opt for lower strength drinks and drink singles rather than doubles when having spirits.

n Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water.

n Stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so your body has time to process the alcohol before the following morning.

n Not drink and drive.