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What’s left on your Christmas to-do list?

18 December 2018

Christmas decorationsSouth East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is urging people to carry out some last minute checks to ensure they keep themselves and others as safe as possible this Christmas.

Demand is already high and the Trust is preparing for a busy day on Friday, (21 December), the last Friday before Christmas Day, typically referred to as Black Friday.

Activity is expected to remain high across the weekend and throughout the Christmas period. SECAmb has prepared well for the busy festive period and staff and volunteers will be working hard to get patients the help they need as quickly as possible. However, the public can help SECAmb manage the additional demand by carrying out some final checks against the Trust’s Christmas wish-list as well as their shopping lists.

SECAmb’s Christmas wish list

• Stock up on your medicines cabinet as well as the Christmas chocolates – cold remedies, pain killers, indigestion tablets, diarrhoea or constipation remedies and plasters are useful to have in the home all year round
• Order any repeat prescriptions you or your friends and family need
• 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
• Look out for any vulnerable friends and neighbours – what could you do to make their Christmas and New Year that little bit easier?
• Make sure you don’t serve up undercooked turkey and other foods which can cause salmonella poisoning
• Take care and use appropriate equipment when hanging Christmas lights and decorations
• Wear layers as they keep you warmer than one thicker layer. They can also easily be removed as you warm up
• Keep homes at the right temperature – ideally 18-21 degrees
• Take extra care if it’s icy or wet. If driving, keep your distance and drive to the conditions of the road
• Have you had a flu vaccination? Speak with your GP to book an appointment
• Please remember 999 is for emergencies – if it’s not an emergency and you need health advice then you can call NHS 111, make an appointment with your GP, or visit a minor injuries unit or pharmacist

SECAmb Associate Director of Operations Sue Barlow said: “This final week before Christmas is, of course, always a busy time of year for us. As ever, I know our staff and our volunteers, including our community first responders, will rise to the challenge and work extremely hard to ensure people receive the help they require.

“We’re asking that the public help us by doing a final check including stocking up on their medicine cabinets, picking up any repeat prescriptions and checking on vulnerable friends or neighbours.

“We’ll be prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients and people not facing a serious emergency will not receive an immediate ambulance response. We urge people to consider the alternatives to dialling 999 when they’re not faced with a life-threatening or serious emergency, including calling NHS 111 for assistance.”

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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