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Welsh Ambulance Service prepares for Six Nations kick off

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is prepared for one of the busiest periods in the sporting calendar as Wales kick off their RBS Six Nations campaign on Sunday.

Extra ambulance resources will be in place in Cardiff and the surrounding areas to cope with the expected increase in demand throughout the tournament.

While Wales begin their campaign away against Italy in Rome, large numbers of people will be out in pubs and bars around the city to watch the game.

There will be a particular focus on the home fixtures against England and Ireland, when more than 100,000 people are expected to descend on the city centre.

The Trust has teamed up with St John Ambulance to provide extra cover in and around the ground, not just for medical emergencies but for fans who have indulged in too much alcohol.

Bob Tooby, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Operations for the Cardiff and Vale area said: “This time of year is one of the busiest periods for us, and particularly with major sporting events, we tend to see an increase in alcohol-related calls and minor injuries.

“We really do want everyone to enjoy themselves, but we would also ask them to help us be available for people facing genuine life-threatening emergencies by keeping an eye on how much they’ve had to drink.”

The service’s new Medical Cycle Response Unit, a team of Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians and Community First Responders, will be out on two wheels enabling them to get through the crowded streets of Cardiff to provide treatment quickly.

The multi-agency Alcohol Treatment Centre will be open to help ease the pressure on busy emergency departments and clinicians will also be in place in the South Wales Police control room to triage calls.

Alcoholic drinks, whether consumed at home or in pubs and clubs, will play a big part in get-togethers for the Six Nations.

As alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents in the UK, the Trust is reminding fans to stay on their best behaviour, and take care of themselves and others.

Bob added: “Every minute we spend attending to an alcohol-related call out is one we could be helping a patient suffering from a cardiac arrest or choking, so please act responsibly when dialling 999.

“Look after yourself and those around you and remember that the safest way to enjoy alcohol is not to drink on an empty stomach, and alternate water and soft drinks with alcoholic ones.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service is urging the public to support NHS Wales’ Choose Well campaign to ensure busy emergency services are available for those who need them most.

If you’re feeling unwell and are unsure what to do, NHS Direct Wales is available 24 hours a day by calling 0845 46 47.

Other services include your local pharmacist, GP, GP Out of Hours Service, optician and Minor Injuries Unit, where there is no need for an appointment.

The NHS Direct Wales website also has a whole host of online symptom checkers which can offer advice on common health problems.

Only dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency, if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk.

Picture captions: Members of the Welsh Ambulance Service’s new Medical Cycle Response Unit will be out on two wheels providing treatment during the Six Nations tournament.