SOUTH Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is asking people to “be sensible and think 111” during the Bank Holiday weekend.

The trust has dealt with a significant increase in activity since April 12, when the government eased lockdown restrictions to allow outdoor pubs, shops, gyms and hairdressers to reopen.

SWASFT responded to an average of 2,760 emergency incidents a day during the two week period until April 25, equating to more than 19,300 incidents per week.

This represents an increase of around 8% compared to the number of incidents it dealt with during March 2021, prior to the most recent lockdown changes.

Although there has been no particular type of incident associated with the increase, it has seen a noticeable rise in the number of incidents in public places.

SWASFT is encouraging people to contact 111 for urgent medical problems, and only to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

Operations Officer Michael Anning said: “We are asking people to behave sensibly this Bank Holiday weekend, and to think 111 for urgent medical help and advice.

“Since the stay-at-home rule was lifted, we have noticed an increase in ambulance activity, and we’ve had a number of busy days recently.

“So please only call 999 in a genuine life-threatening emergency, so we can be available for those who need us most.”

The NHS continues to encourage everyone to do all they can to keep themselves and others safe during the ongoing pandemic.

That includes following the 'hands, face, space and fresh air' guidance, and abiding by the restrictions still in place.

People should call 999 for an ambulance in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. For example: if someone has stopped breathing, is unconscious or has serious bleeding.

People who have an urgent medical problem and aren’t sure what to do should contact NHS 111.