As Christmas fast approaches, South East Coast Ambulance Service
NHS Foundation Trust, (SECAmb), is urging people to stay safe
throughout the festive season by issuing its Christmas wish

The Trust is asking people to plan ahead for any nights out,
look out for others, not drink alcohol to excess, and have fun but
be sensible.

While Christmas is always a busy time of year for the ambulance
service, with Christmas Day and Boxing Day falling after a weekend,
the Trust is expecting particularly high demand this year.

The Trust always plans ahead for peaks in demand but is asking
people for their support by checking its wish list against their
own Christmas to-do lists. By following the advice and taking time
to prepare properly for the Christmas period, people can reduce the
likelihood of having to call on the help of the ambulance service
and wider NHS.

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
• Look out for any vulnerable friends and neighbours – what
could you do to make their Christmas and New Year that little bit
• 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
• 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 your pharmacist

SECAmb has a number of measures it can implement at periods of
particularly high demand. A new surge management plan has been
designed to ensure it can continue to respond to the most
seriously-ill patients in the community and keep patients as safe
as possible even when it is experiencing very high levels of

SECAmb Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said: “We are
always busy at this time of year and we know the next few weeks are
going to be very demanding for all our staff. This is likely to be
exacerbated by the fact that Christmas falls immediately after a
weekend.  We’ll be managing our demand day-by-day and
hour-by-hour to ensure those patients in the most need are
prioritised and protected.

“Our staff will be working flat out in our control rooms and out
on the road throughout the Christmas period to keep people safe and
we know they will always rise to the challenge.

“However, we’re urging people to take some steps to limit the
impact the festive period has on their ambulance service. Of
course, we want people to have fun but by being sensible, planning
ahead and following our simple advice people can help ensure we’re
best placed to respond to emergencies across our region.”

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
• sudden unexplained shortness of breath
• heavy bleeding
• unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained
• traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance if: 

• you think the patient’s illness or injury is
• 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 visit our website here:

Or click on the following link: