Stay well – but save 999 for emergencies
Kent’s ambulance service is preparing for one of the busiest weekends of the year.
It has urged people to keep an eye on any elderly or vulnerable family, friends or neighbours over Easter and help ensure their medicine cabinets are stocked with useful and in-date medication.
GP surgeries will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday and the public have also been reminded to only call 999 in the event of a “serious emergency”.
The Easter weekend is one of the busiest periods of the year for paramedics in Kent
Last year South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) received more than 10,000 emergency calls between Good Friday and Easter Monday and sent a response to more than 8,500 incidents.
People are reminded that by dialing the NHS non-emergency number 111 they can get advice, have symptoms assessed, and be directed to the most appropriate medical care.
It is preparing for high demand and is expecting to handle well in excess of 20,000 calls across the four-day weekend.
SECamb says staff will be working “extremely hard” to ensure patients receive the help they require, is also urging people to prepare themselves to minimise their risk of requiring the help of the ambulance service.
It is reminding people to act now to pick up any required repeat prescriptions by contacting their GP surgery ahead of the weekend.
SECAmb head of resilience and specialist operations, said: “As ever, we’re expecting a very busy weekend and we know all our staff will rise to the challenge of this increase in demand.
“But we’re urging people to help us by only dialling 999 in the event of a serious emergency.
“As always we will be prioritising life-threatening calls so a call triaged as being a lower priority is likely to receive a longer response.
“Anyone faced with an emergency shouldn’t hesitate to call but we would urge anyone else who needs help to consider to consider the other options available to them including calling NHS 111 where staff can provide support and advice over the phone and refer patients to outof-hours services where appropriate.
“Also, while pharmacies may not be operating their usual hours, they too can be a useful place where members of the public can receive expert advice on routine illnesses such as coughs and colds.
“We’re also strongly recommending people ensure they have arranged to collect any necessary repeat prescriptions for themselves or others and ensure their medicine cabinets are in stock and in date.”
The public have been asked to try to keep the pressure off 999 services