Monday 9th December 2013 – 3.20pm – Chris Kowalik – in conjunction with:
Herefordshire’s health and ambulance services are urging people to ‘think first’ before calling 999 or going to their local accident and emergency department this winter, unless it’s a life threatening emergency.
Winter weather means more slips and trips and generally more of us feeling unwell with coughs, colds and other viruses, so it’s no surprise that more people need advice or treatment at this time of year.
However, West Midlands Ambulance Service respond to more than 26,000 emergency calls each year in Herefordshire and nearly 90 per cent are for non-urgent conditions or illnesses, such as coughs, colds and flu like symptoms, particularly during the winter months.
Whilst people may go to the most easily accessible NHS service for advice or treatment these inappropriate emergency calls put unnecessary pressure on the ambulance service and A&E departments across the country and take up valuable doctors and nurses time.
That’s why West Midlands Ambulance Service and Wye Valley NHS Trust are urging the public to ‘think first’ and only call 999 or attend A&E for life-threatening illnesses or conditions.
Michelle Brotherton, West Midlands Ambulance Service’s General Manager for Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, said: “In order to help reduce the volume of 999 calls and to improve the availability of ambulances to those members of the public who are suffering from serious illnesses and injuries, we’re urging people to consider whether their condition is a real emergency.
“Patients should contact their GP in the first instance or call NHS 111 if urgent advice is needed and it’s not an emergency. But if you do have a life-threatening emergency, such as loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent and severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped, then you should call 999.”
Jane Griffin, A&E Lead Nurse at Wye Valley NHS Trust, added: “There are lots of services available to help with a variety of illnesses and injuries which are an alternative to visiting A&E. These include local pharmacies, GP practices, GP out-of-hours services, and the walk-in centre (Asda, Hereford).
“People in Herefordshire could also save themselves time and be treated more quickly using other NHS services, as well as freeing up NHS resources to help those who are critically ill”. For details of local health services visit http://www.nhs.uk
Back row left to right: Tom Davies and Simon Burrows (West Midlands Ambulance Service)
Front row left to right: Tom Pennington (West Midlands Ambulance Service) and Jane Griffin (Wye Valley NHS Trust)