AN ambulance will attend an incident in Somerest every five or six minutes over the four days of the Easter holiday.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust predicts it will respond to 1,060 999 calls in the county from Good Friday until the end of Easter Monday.

And it is expecting more than 11,000 call outs across the whole South West over the same period with many visitors coming to the region - Devon is forecast to be the busiest county with 2,600 demands.

SWASFT is putting on extra staff and vehicles to cope with the increased demand and is urging the public to stop and think before dialling 999 for an emergency ambulance.

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

Using the ambulance service in the correct way helps the Trust ensure that the most appropriate response is provided to those with a genuine clinical need.

Ken Wenman, chief executive 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.

"We’re committed to delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time for the 5.5 million residents plus the 23 million visitors we serve in our region.

"But over the Easter break we’d like to ask the public to stop and think, ‘Is this an emergency?’ before dialling 999."

Paramedics are also reminding the public to take care if they are visiting coastal regions, and to be coast aware when taking families to the beach.

Visitors to the region this Easter should also remember to bring any essential medicines and stock up on repeat prescriptions before they travel as many pharmacies will have reduced opening hours across the long weekend.

Mr Wenman added: "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."