Bosses at the overstretched Yorkshire Ambulance Service have pleaded with members of the public only to call for an ambulance in a genuine emergency.

They say demand has been increasing month by month since January 2021 - and July is shaping up to be 'one of the busiest months ever'.

"During the last few weeks Yorkshire Ambulance Service has seen some of the highest demand ever for its services," an ambulance spokesperson said. "With the easing of lockdown measures, the service is asking the public to only use 999 when there is a serious or life-threatening emergency so that ambulance resources are available for patients who need them most."

The service says part of the increase in demand since January may have been because of people not knowing who to contact during lockdown. The heatwave over the weekend only added to the pressure on the service - calls were 40 per cent above what as expected.

Nick Smith, executive director of operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We have been experiencing periods of extremely high demand in recent weeks and we can only see this increasing.

"This is having a significant impact on our frontline operations and we are asking the public to help us by only calling 999 in a serious or life-threatening emergency to help us focus our efforts on our most poorly patients.

“We are continuing to respond to those in need as swiftly as possible, but acknowledge that some patients are having to wait longer than we would like. All emergency calls are categorised and those in a life-threatening condition are always prioritised.

“The hot weather this weekend appears to have exacerbated the situation. Whilst we have responded to a significant number of serious incidents, we’ve also had calls from people suffering from heat stroke for example, and who we advise to use self-care or visit a pharmacy rather than calling for an emergency response."

Mr Smith added that people should not call more than once about the same incident unless a patient's condition had 'deteriorated significantly'. "These extra calls can overburden the system," he said.

“If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, they should call 999 immediately. For anyone with less serious illnesses and injuries, they should consider self-care, their local pharmacy, their GP surgery, urgent care centre or make their own way to the emergency department. Our NHS 111 service is also available online at or by calling 111.”