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Warning over 999 calls in freezing weather

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Ambulance service chiefs in Wales are urging the public only to make 999 calls for genuine life-threatening emergencies as winter pressures intensify.

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They warn that emergency call-outs face potentially long delays as thick snow, icy roads and plunging temperatures hit the service.

Despite round-the-clock efforts by councils to keep major roads open, maintaining normal services is proving impossible.

Tony Chatfield, Welsh Ambulance Service South East Wales regional manager for patient care services, issued the public appeal today.

“Due to the continuing adverse weather, we are still encountering difficulties in maintaining normal service for routine patient transport across parts of Wales,” he said.

“In North Wales, we are now trying to run as normal a service as possible, but certain areas are still problematic and patients are only being transported where safe to do so.

“With regard to the South East of Wales, and Central and West Wales, while major routes are generally clear, lower category roads and residential area access roads are still extremely poor and treacherous.

“It is also likely that your hospital clinic will not be open, and some hospitals have suspended routine clinic services.

“As a result, we will be concentrating on specially identified patients who are at clinical risk, such as renal and cancer patients or patients identified for transport by a hospital due to the urgent nature of the treatment needed.”

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