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Please support the ambulance service this New Year

28 December 2018

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is urging the public to use its service wisely on New Year’s Eve when demand is expected to be very high.

At the busiest point, the Trust is expecting to handle between three and four calls a minute with a total well in excess of 3,000 calls handled in 24 hours.

Emergency Operations Centre staff will be working hard to prioritise the Trust’s response to patients in a serious or life threatening condition and ambulance crews and volunteers are expected to attend more than 2,500 calls.

The public is urged to help by only calling 999 in the event of a serious emergency. People are also reminded that calls of a less serious nature will not be assigned an immediate response and may be advised to seek alternative help.

SECAmb is urging people to have fun but stay safe by following the simple advice below:

• If drinking alcohol – have fun but be sensible. Look out for others you’re with and drink water between alcoholic drinks
• Excess alcohol consumption on its own isn’t usually a reason to dial 999 for someone but if there’s another complaint causing concern or someone loses consciousness then dial 999 without delay
• Plan your evening. How are you getting home? Look out for others you’re with.
• Wear layers as they keep you warmer than one thicker layer. They can also easily be removed as you warm up
• Look out for any vulnerable friends and neighbours
• Remember 999 is for emergencies – if it’s not an emergency and you need health advice remember alternatives including calling NHS 111

Regional Operations Manager James Pavey said: “At this time of year we are always busy and we have planned ahead to manage the additional demand. We faced high demand at Christmas and we know that New Year’s Eve will also be challenging.

“I know that all our staff and our volunteers will rise to the challenge as they always do but we really need the public to support us by remembering to only call 999 in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency.

“Calling 999 for someone because they’ve had too much to drink is not necessary. We appreciate that many people will want to celebrate and drink alcohol and of course we want people to have fun. But we also want them to plan their night, be sensible, look out for each other and not drink excessively.

“If people can remember this simple advice they can help us to maximise our ability to respond to our most seriously ill and injured patients.”

When to call 999:

If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following you must dial 999 for an ambulance:

• heart attack (e.g. chest pain for more than 15 minutes)
• sudden unexplained shortness of breath
• heavy bleeding
• unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained consciousness)
• traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance if: 

• you think the patient's illness or injury is life-threatening
• you think the illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the way to the hospital
• moving the patient/s without skilled people could cause further injury
• the patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance service and its personnel

For further information on how to protect yourself and others this winter please click on the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/staywell

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