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Be BBQ safe this summer

Be BBQ safe this summer


The Hazardous Area Response Team for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS HART) is sharing advice on how everyone can remain safe whilst on summer holidays, especially when around barbecues.

Staycations including camping trips are great fun for families but they bring with them the normal dangers that everyone faces outdoors.

Camping can be fantastic way to experience the great outdoors but SCAS HART is reminding people to take the right precautions for you and your fellow campers to stay safe and well. You should bear in mind the following when camping:

  • Never use a barbecue inside a tent due to the fire risk and to avoid the build up of carbon monoxide within the tent which can be fatal;
  • Check the rules regarding open fires and barbecues at your campsite;
  • Don’t change gas canisters or refuel stoves inside your tent and, if possible, store them outside;
  • Keep matches and lighters in a waterproof container and away from children;
  • Make sure all fires are damped down and that stoves, gas lamps, barbecues etc. are out before you go to bed;
  • Have a fire escape plan and know where the nearest water source is.

David Findlay, SCAS HART manager, said: “We urge people to always be careful around naked flames. When cooking on barbecues keep children at a safe distance and never use a BBQ inside a tent. Common accidents that we see include people tripping over guy ropes.

or treading on tent pegs so please vigilant around your camping zone and take a torch with you if venture around in the dark.

“We’d also recommend making sure you’re aware of your location, including local landmarks if you are in remote surroundings as these can be vital should you or a friend or relative fall ill. Taking a mobile phone with you is useful too should you become injured and need to phone 999.”

Always have a small first aid kit in your car or caravan to help treat minor injuries or illnesses such as cuts, grazes, allergies, insect bites, stings or diarrhoea or vomiting.


More patients than ever survive major trauma

More patients than ever survive major trauma

Patient helped after accident

The contribution of staff at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) has been recognised as more patients than ever survive major trauma.

Since 2012, patients with suspected “major trauma” have been transported directly to Major Trauma Centres (MTCs) instead of the nearest hospital by ambulance crews across England including those at SCAS. Ambulance crews have received additional training to deal with these cases, and now have access to specialised trauma equipment and medicines for use at an incident and en route to hospital with their patient

When these cases arrive at hospital, patient details and injuries are entered into the national Trauma Audit Research Network (TARN) database which allows national comparison of patient survival and long-term outcomes. It also allows TARN to identify hospitals that are doing exceptionally well with “unexpected survivors” so that best practice can be shared across the Trauma Networks. The aim is to improve the care of all patients with trauma.

Results from the national audit by the TARN released this week show that there has been a huge improvement in the care of patients with major trauma. Patients who have major trauma are now 63 per cent more likely to survive than they were in 2008/9.

Mark Ainsworth-Smith, Consultant Pre-Hospital Care Practitioner and SCAS trauma lead, said: “SCAS is very proud of the pivotal role it plays along with other ambulance services, air ambulances and hospital teams in the success of the trauma networks”.

“Taking seriously injured patients directly from the scene of an incident to MTCs has been shown to be beneficial in other countries. Following the hard work and dedication by all of those involved we have confirmation that patients in England are 63 per cent more likely to survive major trauma than they were just six years ago”.

“This is an amazing achievement, and one that the ambulance service and air ambulance teams should be very proud of. This data proves that crews are doing the right thing by going straight to dedicated MTCs where that comprehensive and extensive care and treatment can be started as soon as possible.”

Dr Simon Hughes, Director of Trauma at University Hospital Southampton (UHS), said: “This is truly a fantastic result. Everyone involved should be very proud to have been a part of what has been one of the most successful service changes in the NHS since its inception.”

Milton Keynes man meets SCAS crews who saved his life

Milton Keynes man meets SCAS crews who saved his life

Reunite with patient

A Milton Keynes man has been reunited with SCAS crews who saved his life following a cardiac arrest.

Steve Persighetti, 59, was at home in February with his wife Rozany, when he started to experience severe pain throughout his chest and arms. With Steve’s pain worsening, Rozany quickly phoned 999 and Emergency Call Taker Alexandra White helped reassure the couple that an ambulance crew and an ambulance officer had been despatched to their address.

Within four minutes, specialist paramedic Mike Lowe was on scene. He explained: “I found Steve in his lounge, quite pale and clammy and realised quickly the seriousness of the situation so I arranged for a crew to convey him to Oxford.” Mike performed an ECG which was sent electronically through to the specialist cardiac centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The ambulance crew, consisting of Ambulance nurse Mike Ambrose and Emergency Care Assistant Elliot Skirrow, arrived and then began to convey Steve to the John Radcliffe Hospital. However, en route, Steve suffered a cardiac arrest in the ambulance.

Elliot Skirrow remembers: “As we got to Buckingham, Mike Ambrose called through to me in the front of the ambulance that Steve had gone into cardiac arrest and to pull over to the side of the road and help him to shock Steve back into a normal rhythm.”

“It was at hospital, that it was discovered that two of Steve’s arteries needed unblocking. He went on to have a number of stents fitted and is continuing to recover steadily.”

On 28 April, Steve and Rozany travelled to Milton Keynes Ambulance Station to be reunited with Mike, Mike and Elliot and to express their thanks. They spent time recollecting the timeline of events that day in February and it was evident how special the reunion was for all involved.

Steve said: “Once I’d recovered I realised I wanted to say thankyou to the ambulance crews involved as obviously without their help, I wouldn’t be here.”

Rozany explained: “It was a fantastic job done by Mike, Mike and Elliot and I’m eternally grateful because if not for them Steve wouldn’t be here today.”

Mike Lowe added: “To now meet a patient whose life we’ve saved is a wonderful thing and a great buzz for all of us.”

Elliot Skirrow admitted: “Thankfully all the treatment Steve had was successful and he’s still with us today.”

Mike Ambrose said: “This reunion means everything because sometimes we don’t really see the outcome of the patients we treat because we only see them for a short time so to receive a letter from Steve thanking us and knowing that he’s survived and gone through the treatment is quite overwhelming really.”

Thank you to Milly After 47 years

Thank you to Milly After 47 years

On Thursday, 3 December, friends and colleagues from South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCAS) Patient Transport Service, came together at Southern House in Otterbourne to say thank you to Hampshire Volunteer Car Driver, Milly Stokes, who retired after 47 years and nine months’ service.

Car driver Milly Stokes

Car driver Milly Stokes

Milly began driving as a volunteer back in 1968 for the ambulance car service in Hampshire and has received three long service awards including one from SCAS as well as one from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Milly said: “In my first 10 years, I used to take three chaps from Netley village to Knowle Hospital. Getting them there at 9.30am and transporting them back to Netley for 3.30pm meant I could do my driving and still be there to collect my children from school.”

Over the years, Milly has driven patients to and from places as far from Hampshire as Liverpool, Plymouth, Norfolk and Birmingham as well as got to know lots of ‘regulars’ – patients who she has transported frequently as they attend hospital or treatment centres for dialysis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“I’ll miss meeting all the patients and having so many different and interesting people to talk to. Also, I’ve loved seeing new towns, villages and countryside when I’m out driving so I’ll miss that too” Milly Stokes.

At the event to mark Milly’s retirement, James Underhay, Director of Strategy, Business Development, Communications and Engagement, said:

“It’s hard to believe that in the year Milly started volunteering, Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, Dad’s Army first appeared on TV and British Rail’s last steam train service between Liverpool and Carlisle made its final journey. A lot may have changed since then but one thing has remained constant; Milly’s dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to her patients. She has been an inspiration to many for her fantastic service and we will be very sad to see her go.”

And whilst Milly may have ‘hung up her keys’ for the last time, she has no plans to put her feet up completely.

“I’ll still keep up my volunteering – I won’t be sitting around on my bottom! I already volunteer at my local hospital so I’ll still do that…and maybe help out at a charity shop too.”

Family who called 111 thank SCAS for sending out a paramedic

Family who called 111 thank SCAS for sending out a paramedic

111 call handler

Like NHS 111 services up and down the country, the NHS 111 service provided by SCAS across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire is available 24-7, 365 days a year. Our service is provided by highly trained call handlers, supported by healthcare professionals. Using a system called NHS Pathways, which has been developed by doctors representing all the Royal Colleges and experienced nurses and paramedics, callers are asked a series of questions to assess the patient’s symptoms and then immediately directed to the best medical care. This could be advice to attend A&E, an urgent care or walk-in centre, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent GP appointment or to see a pharmacist.

Here at SCAS, we get a wide variety of calls to our 111 service, from people simply wanting information about local clinic times and general health advice, to those concerned about minor as well as serious medical conditions. If, using the NHS Pathways system, our experienced call handlers recognise that the symptoms the patient is describing require an ambulance, one will be sent out; as the experience of this family from Abingdon who recently called 111 demonstrates.

“My Dad is 90 years old with some health problems and he was taken very poorly at approximately 3am on Friday 5 June in Abingdon. We called 111 and it was decided we needed a paramedic to attend. She arrived within a few minutes and her first name was Steph. She was so kind and professional to all of us that we’d like our thanks to be noted and passed to her and her management team.

Steph gave us a lot of information about who to call and when (if it happens again) and what we should do to follow up with Dad’s GP later that same Friday. She also spoke to a doctor on call who would call me back later to check on Dad.

Dad felt better after a while and his heart rates, etc., returned to normal and was able to go back to sleep (unlike us)!

He has since seen his GP and no changes to medication were needed and seems back to his usual self.

Steph made a really scary and stressful night a lot easier for all of us and I really hope you let her know how much we appreciate all that she did. Steph is a real asset to the team without a doubt in our eyes. Here’s hoping you can let her know how much we appreciate her help and to let her know that Dad is ok”

The King Family, Abingdon, June 2015.

111 and 999 teams going the extra mile

111 and 999 teams going the extra mile

NHS 111



It’s not always possible to deliver the outcome we, the patient and their family and friends want every single time we’re called. Understandably, as an emergency service, the very nature of the incidents our crews get called to are of a serious and often life-threatening nature. But even when our efforts, and those of other colleagues in the NHS, prove in vain, it’s heartening to know that the care, dedication and professionalism of all SCAS staff – from call handlers in our 111 service, to despatchers in our 999 service and the paramedics, technicians and care assistants that attend – are recognised and very much appreciated, as the following letter sent to our Chief Executive earlier this year demonstrates:

“I would like to express my thanks to your teams in Portsmouth over the Christmas period.

On Christmas Day evening, my 93 year old mother was unwell with chest pains and, after an in depth discussion with the 111 operator, an ambulance attended. The team were very understanding and, following extensive tests, recommended a visit to A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital. My mother said she felt much better and refused the trip, not wishing to disrupt Christmas with her family.

On Boxing Day morning she appeared to be back to normal and was enjoying the day. However, following her usual afternoon nap, she asked for assistance to get up from her chair. This resulted in a collapse and necessitated a 999 call. The medical team arrived within 8 minutes and proceeded to treat my mother with calm professionalism in a most caring and compassionate manner. This time it was essential to attend A&E and the transfer was accomplished smoothly. Having radioed all relevant data ahead to A&E, the team of nurses and doctors were instantly available on arrival.

Despite the magnificent efforts of the paramedics and hospital staff, my mother passed away on 2 January.

I would appreciate it if you could pass on to your teams how grateful I and my family are for the way my mother was looked after. They are a credit to the Service and should be congratulated on their actions.”