Ambulance bosses say they need people to 'be prepared' to help curb the demand on services over the two long May weekends.

With the first May bank holiday next week, the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust (EEAST) wants people to ensure they have well-equipped first aid kits, take more care enjoying the outdoors, and call 111 if their condition is less serious but needs attention.

Consultant Paramedic Marcus Bailey said: "It's great for people to take advantage of two long weekends but reducing the risks of accident or illness is the most important thing.

"To help give the best possible service to patients, people should only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency, such as suspected stroke, heart attack, or breathing difficulties, as well as for people that are unconscious or bleeding heavily."

The advice also follows a surge in calls to the Trust's Norfolk out-of-hours service during the recent Easter bank holiday weekend.

Adrian Maasz, the Trust's 111 and primary care services lead, said: "We saw a significant rise in calls in that area over the four days, about 200 more than what we'd normally expect for a long weekend.

"Many of these patients had simply run out of medication. We accept there are times people can't get to pharmacists but we'd encourage people to check they have adequate supplies - by being prepared and planning ahead, people can avoid needing us and our crews can be freed up to be out treating more seriously ill patients."