Top tips to help you and your ambulance service this Spring bank holiday | News

Top tips to help you and your ambulance service this Spring bank holiday

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is encouraging people to use the right healthcare for them this Spring bank holiday weekend as the region prepares for a further influx of visitors.

Residents and tourists to the South West are reminded to only dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

Bank holiday weekends can be a busy time for 999 services, especially if the weather turns out to be warm and sunny – whether in the garden, doing DIY at home, visiting family and friends, or exploring the region’s beauty spots.

Ahead of the Spring bank holiday weekend, here are some top tips to help you choose the right healthcare for you, and help your ambulance service -

  • Continue to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.


  • Visit NHS 111 online for non-life-threatening medical help or advice.


  • Make sure you have ordered and collected any repeat medicines.


  • Make use of community pharmacies, which can advise on minor illnesses and provide medications. Details of which pharmacies are open over the May bank holiday weekend can be found on the interactive map.


  • Visitors to the South West should make their first point of call for GP care their home practice, who will be able to provide online, phone and video consultations as well as arranging to send prescriptions to a pharmacy of their choice.


Wayne Darch, Deputy Director of Operations at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to be there for everyone that needs us in a medical emergency, but we need your support to help us to help you. Please only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency, this will ensure we have crews available for patients with the most life-threatening conditions.

“If you need urgent medical help, but not for an emergency, please visit NHS 111 online or a community service such as a minor injury unit or a pharmacy.

“I would also like to thank our people and NHS colleagues who will be working over the bank holiday weekend to help keep us all safe and well. Should you need their support, please be kind to them, they are working hard under huge pressures currently.”

People are asked not to call 999 back for an estimated arrival time of an ambulance. They should only call back if the patient’s condition worsens or they no longer need an ambulance. This helps keep phone lines free for others in need.

Which service should I use?

  • Self-care – for things like grazed knees, coughs, and colds.


  • Pharmacy – visit your local pharmacy for headaches, upset stomachs, aches and pains.


  • NHS 111 – visit online or call 111 for advice and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


  • GP – call your GP for symptoms that won’t go away.


  • Minor injuries unit – attend your local minor injuries unit for urgent non-life-threatening conditions and injuries such as sprains, fractures, and burns.


  • 999 – call 999 for life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, fits that aren’t stopping, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, severe allergic reactions, suspected stroke, and serious head injuries.



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