THE WELSH Ambulance Service have launched an animated campaign to urge the public to use their service wisely

A cartoon dog called Woody is the star of a series of new animations developed by the Welsh Ambulance Service to help people decide whether their illness or injury really warrants a 999 call.

The animations form part of the ambulance service’s #WoodyWise campaign, which launched on Monday, February 4 to raise awareness of the role of the ambulance service and how to make sensible choices when looking for health advice, support and care. The campaign has been developed as part of the ambulance service’s drive to ensure that people understand where to find the right help and support.

Director of Partnerships and Engagement, Estelle Hitchon, said she hoped the animations and accompanying cartoon materials would help engage and inform the public.

She said: “When someone feels unwell, particularly at the weekend or overnight, it can be difficult to know where to turn and phoning for an ambulance or turning up to an emergency unit can feel like the only options.

“In the same way, dealing with minor injuries and illnesses can tie up ambulance resources, taking them away from patients who genuinely need our help.

“The Woody animations take a number of scenarios with which we’re all familiar and show why ringing for an ambulance sometimes isn’t right the choice, especially when it comes to a minor injury or illness.

“We receive many calls from people who could have used NHS Direct Wales, the 111 service, their local pharmacy or a minor injuries unit, but instead chose to call an ambulance. Dealing with this type of call prevents our staff from dealing with genuine emergencies.

“Calling an ambulance when you don’t need one wastes time and resources which could have been better spent responding someone genuinely in need of the high level clinical care ambulance crews provide. Ambulances are not a taxi service and arriving at hospital by ambulance does not mean you’ll be seen quicker.

“If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should call 999 immediately. For those minor illnesses and injuries which are less serious, we hope Woody the dog helps people realise that there are other, more appropriate, services available.”