South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is expecting more than 10,000 calls over the bank holiday weekend.

Health professionals across the region are urging residents to think carefully this bank holiday weekend.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), is urging those in the region to consider alternatives to 999 and emergency departments.

The trust handles 470 more incidents per day compared to 2011, and is expecting more than 10,000 calls across the South West over the bank holiday weekend.

Alternative healthcare options include visiting minor injury units, dialling NHS 111, or choosing over-the-counter remedies from high street stores or supermarkets.

Ken Wenman, SWASFT chief executive, said: “The trust has a finite number of resources and we have to prioritise those resources for time critical, life threatening emergencies.

“We know from past experience that the summer season and the influx of visitors can put extra strain on our services.

“We would advise people who need help to think about the laternatives and instead of visiting an emergency department or dialling 999, go online to see which other health services are available locally.”

In addition, NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) is recommending people stock up on plasters, painkillers, antiseptic creams to ‘ease pressure on local NHS services’.

Dr John Womersley, clinical chair of NEW Devon CCG, said: “With the long weekend coming up we are recommending people stock up on the basics to treat those everyday ailments that are suitable for self-care such as headaches, tummy upsets, sore throats and grazes.

“It makes sense to be able to treat minor illnesses and injuries quickly at home where you can then get on with enjoying the weekend. It also helps to relieve the pressure on local NHS services.”