Members of the public are being asked to think before dialling 999 for an ambulance this Easter.

The bank holiday weekend is one of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) busiest of the year, with more than 11,000 incidents expected between Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday.

North, East and and West Devon is expected to be the busiest region in the South West, with more than 1800 incidents expected in the area over the bank holiday weekend.

SWASFT is making more staff and vehicles available to combat the increased demand, but is also advising members of the public to think before dialling 999 for an ambulance.

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

Dr Andy Smith, medical executive director of SWASFT, said: “As the first busy bank holiday weekend in the South West approaches, we are predicting increased levels of calls to the 999 emergency ambulance service.

“With extra staff on duty round the clock, we’re ready but the truth is we have a finite number of ambulances and highly-trained staff available.

“This means we will, as always, prioritise and focus on those patients in a time-critical life-threatening condition.

“Over the Easter break we’d like to ask the public to stop and think ‘is this an emergency’ before dialling 999.

“All our staff out on the road and in the clinical hubs are working extremely hard to deliver the right care to our patients.

“This bank holiday weekend we want to ensure that residents and tourists alike know where to access the most appropriate treatment depending on what is wrong with them.

“There are a wide variety of healthcare services available for a range of conditions and it is really important that people choose well, especially during periods when the demand for the ambulance service is high.”