Stay well – but save 999 for emer­gen­cies

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spotlight On Health -

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

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