South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is urging local people to help keep 999 free for life-threatening and serious emergencies only this bank holiday weekend.
Across the South Central region there will be plenty of local healthcare services – from pharmacies, GP surgeries, out-of-hours GPs, walk-in centres, first aid units and minor injuries units – open from early in the morning to late at night across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire over the three days of the August bank holiday.
Mark Rowell, Head of Integrated Urgent Care and NHS 111 Services at SCAS, said:
“Around 2,400 people a day call us on 111 for urgent healthcare advice, information or to be signposted to the most appropriate local health service. This number increases to 4,500-5,000 daily calls at weekends.
We are gearing up for an expected busy August bank holiday and are available 24-7 via the 111 number. We can help callers speak to the right healthcare professionals or find out how to access the most appropriate healthcare service, which ensures 999 and A&E is kept free for people suffering serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries.”
Many pharmacies will also be open across the South Central region where people can go to seek advice on minor illnesses and medical problems. You can find your nearest pharmacy and its opening times at https://beta.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy/ . You can also search online to find your nearest walk-in centre at https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Walk-in%20centre/LocationSearch/663
SCAS’ emergency 999 staff are also asking people to help ensure that we can reach the most critically ill and injured patients as quickly as possible this bank holiday weekend by only calling 999 if it is a serious or life-threatening emergency. Over the summer bank holiday weekend in 2017, SCAS received over 6,500 emergency 999 calls.
Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at SCAS, added:
“As we are planning for a busy weekend, we really need the public to help us by only calling 999 if it is a life-threatening illness or injury. This can include loss of consciousness, persistent and severe chest pain, breathing difficulties or not breathing at all, serious burns or scalds and severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you are worried that someone is having a heart attack or stroke, then also please don’t hesitate to call us on 999.”
Minor injuries units will be open from early in the morning till late at night across the South Central region and are the right place for people to go to with injuries such as deep cuts, eye injuries, sprains, suspected broken bones and minor burns and scalds. Often patients will be seen, treated and on their way home before an ambulance would be sent to these minor injuries if the person had called 999.
To find your nearest minor injuries or first aid unit and its bank holiday weekend opening times, visit https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Urgent-Care/LocationSearch/1824