PARAMEDICS at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) are reminding people to use the service wisely this August bank holiday as the ambulance service is expected to be very busy.

The trust is expecting more than 10,690 incidents over the bank holiday four-day weekend, and with the sunny weather predicted the ambulance service will be kept busy with visitors to the region.

SWASFT is making more staff and vehicles available to combat the increased demand and is also advising members of the public to stop and think before calling 999 for an emergency ambulance and to consider alternative treatment options.

Ken Wenman, chief executive of SWAFST, said: “As the August bank holiday approaches us we are predicting a busy time ahead. Although we have more resources out, we only have a finite number of ambulances and highly-trained paramedic crews available. This means we will, as always, prioritise and focus on those patients in a time-critical life-threatening condition.

“We’re committed to delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time for the 5.5 million residents and an estimated 23 million visitors we serve in our region. But we’d like to ask the public to stop and think ‘is this an emergency?’ before dialing 999.”

Examples of when to call 999 include choking, chest pain, stroke, serious blood loss and unconsciousness.

Using 999 correctly helps our emergency crews to reach those patients most in need of clinical attention.

Alternative healthcare options for less serious conditions include: visiting your pharmacy, visiting a Minor Injuries Unit (MRU) or NHS walk-in centre, or calling NHS111. You can also find a whole host of information and advice online at

SWAFST said people visiting the South West this August bank holiday should also remember to bring any essential medicines and stock up on repeat prescriptions before they travel as many pharmacies will have reduced opening hours across the long weekend.