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Online exhibition by SCAS paramedic documents emergency care in the time of Covid-19

Online exhibition by SCAS paramedic documents emergency care in the time of Covid-19

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Paramedic and Photographer, Emma Williams, has today launched an online gallery of a project she undertook in Summer 2020 to capture what it was like delivering emergency ambulance care in the COVID-19 era.

Paramedics helping Patient prepare for transfer to Hospital

Paramedics helping Patient prepare for transfer to Hospital

Emma, who has worked for first Oxfordshire Ambulance Service and then SCAS for 26 years, qualified as a paramedic in 2000 having started her career in the emergency operations control room. She began to take her photography seriously around eight years ago and is completely self-taught.

“These were extraordinary times as the first wave of COVID-19 arrived in the UK and as a photographer as well as a paramedic, I wanted to preserve forever this snapshot of what it was like continuing to deliver compassionate, high-quality emergency care whilst making sure both we and our patients stayed safe from this terrible virus. A heartfelt thank you to the patients and colleagues who allowed me to share their stories.”

Motorbike accident patient being examined

Motorbike accident patient being examined

With galleries and other cultural institutions closed, it is fitting that Emma’s work is being released online to a global audience. She has developed a distinctive, cinematic style to her photography which comes from her use of a Canon 5D camera combined with a freelensing approach – a method of shooting with the lens not physically attached to the camera.

The online gallery is available at www.scas.nhs.uk/emergency-ambulance-care-covid/ and the work was shot across Oxfordshire in Summer 2020. It features a range of medical and other emergencies that SCAS responded to involving patients from the very young to the elderly. Emma, in her own time, joined colleagues on their operational ambulance shifts and all patients and staff seen in the gallery consented to be photographed.

Paramedic playing with baby using saturation monitor

Paramedic playing with baby using saturation monitor

Emma, who is based at the Trust’s Adderbury Resource Centre in Oxfordshire, is hoping to undertake a similar project across the Trust’s 999, NHS 111, patient transport and corporate services over the next few months.

All images in this article and in the gallery are © Emma Williams / Instagram: @lightgreen_emma

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Show respect this Bonfire Night

Show respect this Bonfire Night

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) has joined an appeal from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service (HFRS), the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (IWFRS) and Hampshire Constabulary to help keep people safe this bonfire and fireworks season.

Show Respect this Bonfire Night

Show Respect this Bonfire Night

With many organised events cancelled, emergency services are preparing for a busier night than usual and they are urging families to think twice about the risks before holding home displays.

The social distancing measures in place this year mean more people may be tempted to handle fireworks for the first time and there is concern that this could lead to a high increase in the number of severe burns or injuries. Between 2014-19 there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales (National Fire Chief’s Council).

To help avoid an additional strain on the emergency services during this challenging time, members of the community are also being asked to show respect this Bonfire Night – respect fireworks, respect emergency services and respect neighbours.

Group Manager for Community Safety at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, John Amos said:

“Bonfire Night celebrations will be different this year, so we are asking the community for their support to help everyone enjoy the festivities safely.

Remember, fireworks are explosives, so please avoid taking unnecessary risks and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code.

Please help us to protect the community by showing respect this Bonfire Night.”

Superintendent Clare Jenkins from Hampshire Constabulary said:

“Please support us in ensuring that the communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are safe this Bonfire Night. It has been a difficult year for everyone so please help your emergency services by showing respect for your neighbours and those around you by following the latest government guidance in respect of social distancing and gatherings. Thank you for your support.“

Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations from SCAS said:

“As always we ask that you help us by ensuring that you don’t need our services this Bonfire Night. Particularly in this current environment our services are busy and we would ask you and your families to stay safe and please don’t take risks’.

Further firework and bonfire safety advice is available on the HFRS website:

www.hantsfire.gov.uk/keeping-safe/atleisure/firework-safety

www.hantsfire.gov.uk/keeping-safe/atleisure/bonfire-safety/

There are also worksheets and firework fun activities for children available on the HFRS Kidzone home learning site:

www.hantsfire.gov.uk/kidzone-and-schools/home-learning-resources/

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The Firework Code:   

  • Ensure firework displays finish before 11pm.
  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  • Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
Faith and community leaders make videos to encourage flu vaccination

Faith and community leaders make videos to encourage flu vaccination

Faith and community leaders in Oxfordshire are urging residents to make sure they get vaccinated against flu this year in a series of short video clips. The videos have been recorded in English, Urdu, Bengali, Arabic, Punjabi and Pashto.

Advert encouraging at risk groups to have a flu jab

Advert encouraging at risk groups to have a flu jab

Flu vaccination clinics are underway and the NHS is encouraging anyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccination to book an appointment with their GP or pharmacist, as soon as they receive an invitation. All clinics will run in line with infection prevention control and social distancing measures will be in place.

Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Chaplain at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Catching the flu can have serious complications for some people so it is more important than ever for us to get vaccinated.

“The flu vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. We have created these videos to make sure this important message reaches as many people as possible.”

Dr Meenu Paul, from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Every year the flu virus kills people and hospitalises many more. We want to reassure residents that GPs will be taking extra precautions in practices to make sure flu vaccinations will be delivered as safely as possible in a COVID-secure way.”

For the first time, children in school Year 7, and household contacts and carers of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, are all eligible for the free vaccination. These groups are in addition to people aged over 65, those under 65 with long-term health conditions, pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 and children in primary school.

Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually.

The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so significantly reduces the risk of developing the illness.

The video clips and are available at www.oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk and on Facebook at @NHSOxonCCG

For a full list of priority groups and other information about this year’s flu vaccine, visit www.nhs.uk and search for flu vaccine.

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Oxfordshire health team working together to tackle winter pressures

Oxfordshire health team working together to tackle winter pressures

As we move into the busy winter months, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is joining health and social care professionals across Oxfordshire who will all be working together once again to deliver responsive and joined-up services throughout the season.

Ambulance parked in snowy residential street

Ambulance parked in snowy residential street

Building on our experience of working together last winter, staff from hospitals, GPs, social services, ambulance services, mental health services, and charities will be working as a winter team to provide safe, effective, and sustainable care for people across Oxfordshire.

Winter is a high-pressure season for health and social care services, with the colder temperatures and harsher weather conditions leading to increased demands on GPs and Emergency Departments as flu season begins. This, paired with the impact of COVID-19, means that health and care team working is especially important.

SCAS is also preparing with the team for the increased demands of the winter season, continuing to ensure that resources are available when and where they need to be across the county when people need them the most.

Kerry Gregory, Clinical Operations Manager (Oxfordshire) for SCAS, said: “We are anticipating high demand again this winter.

“Along with our colleagues in the winter team, we are reminding people of the wide range of medical services available to them. Minor injury units, first aid units, NHS 111 and local pharmacies are all able to help – and if people make the most of these services, that means we can get to those people who need urgent medical care.”

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Now more than ever, the winter team’s priority is to ensure that people who need medical treatment are able to access services to get the care they need. We are still focussed on our ‘home first’ approach, making sure that people who really need hospital care can be seen, and people can be treated closer to home when safe and appropriate.

“COVID-19 means that this year looks very different – it’s even more important that people have a winter plan, look after themselves and stay healthy, and if they do need help, to use healthcare services in the most appropriate way. Emergency Departments are for genuinely life-threatening conditions – if you need medical help but it’s not urgent, then your local pharmacy, minor injuries unit, or GP will be best-placed to help you. If you are unsure where to go for help, contact NHS 111 who can provide advice and direct you to the best place for the care you need.”

People are urged to have a winter plan for themselves and their family so they know what they need to do to keep as well as possible, what they can do if they become unwell, and how they can look after more vulnerable neighbours who may not be able to look after themselves.

People are urged to protect themselves against flu this winter, too.

Dr Kiren Collison, Clinical Chair of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is more important than ever to keep yourself well this winter. Having a personal winter plan might include stocking up on the cold and flu medicines in your medicine cabinet at home as well as thinking about other supplies that can help you manage if we have a cold snap. A big part of this is having your flu jab – this helps keep both you and those around you safe.

“This is especially important for people over 65, people with long-term health conditions like diabetes and asthma, pregnant women, people living with someone who is shielding from COVID-19, and children. Flu can be unpleasant for most of us, but it can be much more severe in some people.”

GP practices will contact those patients eligible for the free flu jab to attend vaccination clinics which are taking place over the next few months in Oxfordshire. A new category of 50-64 year olds has been introduced this year, but these groups will be vaccinated later in the year.

More information on who is eligible for a free flu jab is available on the NHS website.

If people are worried about a medical concern over the winter period, they are advised to contact NHS 111 to speak to fully trained advisors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have access to relevant healthcare professionals, including nurses, emergency dentists, or GPs, depending on the situation.

An important part of the team’s plan is making sure that people are cared for outside of hospital, too. Oxfordshire County Council, as well as the rest of the health and care team, is also focussing on the ‘Home First’ initiative, which helps patients leaving hospital to identify what support they need to regain independence and confidence.

Stephen Chandler, Director of Adult Services at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “To keep people safe and well over the winter period, it is important that we work together to provide the right support at the right time. This is a key priority for us across Oxfordshire.

“By forming a single health and care team, we are able to work collaboratively and provide the safest care for people in the county – which has never been more important than now.”

Another angle the team will be focusing on is the importance of mental health over the winter.

Pete McGrane, Clinical Director at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There is a direct link between our physical and mental health. We know that this year has had a significant impact on people’s physical and mental well-being, and people may continue to feel the impact of this as we move into winter.

“Also, people with a long-term mental health condition, dementia, or a learning difficulty are more likely to experience poor physical health. It’s important we take a moment to support frail and vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours and get help for our mental health – just like we would for our physical health.”

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Ambulance service seeks new governors

Ambulance service seeks new governors

A previous meeting of the Council of Governors

A previous meeting of the Council of Governors

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is holding elections for members of the public to join the Trust’s Council of Governors in the following constituencies:

  • Berkshire – one governor
  • Buckinghamshire – two governors
  • Hampshire – three governors
  • Oxfordshire – two governors

Lena Samuels, Chair of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Being a public governor at SCAS provides you with a pivotal role in influencing how local health service decisions are made and services developed. It is a great opportunity to have your voice heard and represent the voice of others in your constituency. I would urge anyone who is passionate about their NHS and local health services to get involved and stand for election.”

To be eligible to stand for election you must be aged 16 or over, be a member of the Trust (you can apply to join online at www.scas.nhs.uk/getinvolved) and be a resident in the county you wish to represent.

Interested members of the public can self-nominate to stand in the forthcoming election from Monday 21 September and nominations need to be received by Sunday 11 October.

Find out more about the role of governors and the election process at www.scas.nhs.uk/about-scas/council-of-governors/governors-election

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Statement on bus crash, Wellhouse Lane, Winchester

Statement on bus crash, Wellhouse Lane, Winchester

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) began to receive multiple 999 calls around 08:10am this morning all reporting a double decker school bus having collided with the railway bridge on Wellhouse Lane, Winchester, resulting in the roof being ripped off the top of the bus.

SCAS personnel in our clinical co-ordination centre worked incredibly quickly and professionally to send a significant number of emergency resources to the incident; this comprised of eight ambulances, three specialist practitioner paramedics, the SCAS Hazardous Area Response Team, an incident commander, tactical adviser and a number of other ambulance officers, as well as helicopter emergency medical teams from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and Dorset Air Ambulance.

The bus was taking students to Henry Beaufort School. Fifty-seven (57) of those on board were fortunately uninjured, however three pupils from the school had sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries, and following initial treatment at the scene were then taken to hospital. A further 12 pupils had sustained minor injuries, and 10 of those patients were able to be treated at the scene by our staff. The remaining two patients with minor injuries required further assessment and treatment at hospital. The students requiring additional hospital treatment were taken to University Hospital Southampton (four patients) and the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (one patient).

Paul Haly, Resilience and Specialist Operations Manager at SCAS, said:

“Attending crews were initially faced with a challenging incident, managing a large number of distressed children. Working closely with our colleagues from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service and Hampshire Police, the scene was quickly controlled and a high standard of patient care was able to be brought to the injured pupils.

“Thankfully, we were able to treat and discharge ten of the injured into the care of their parents, whilst only a further five children required further hospital treatment.  As well as working collaboratively with our blue light partners, the senior leadership team from the school attended the scene, to provide additional support and welfare to the children and parents.”