Ambulance service needs our help as they prepare for winter


999 calls should only be made for serious or life-threatening emergencies

It looks like temperatures will fall away this weekend as we get the first blast of more wintery weather and South Central Ambulance Service has been making preparations for the weeks ahead.

Every year the service faces a significant increase in calls to its 999 and NHS 111 services as the colder winter weather exacerbates many people’s long-standing health conditions.   There’s also a huge rise in the number of patients who fall seriously ill with flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Whilst the service has been making its own plans they are calling on us to help them.

They ask that 999 calls are only made for serious or life-threatening emergencies.   Urgent issues, but those which aren’t emergencies, should be directed to the NHS 111 service.

People who can make their own way to hospital or an urgent treatment centre are asked to do so.

In addition, reducing risks by getting flu and COVID-19 vaccinations (if eligible) and making use of local pharmacists for advice are amongst other precautionary steps that can be taken to help reduce the burden on the ambulance teams.

Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at SCAS, said: “The winter months always bring additional challenges, not just for our services but for the whole NHS. We have been working hard for a number of months to ensure we’re ready for winter, but we need the public to help us by making the right call when it comes to any emergency or urgent health needs.

“You should only call 999 if you, or someone you’re with, is suffering a serious or life-threatening emergency. This includes things like severe bleeding or burns, unconsciousness, someone not breathing or symptoms of stroke, heart attack or other life-threatening conditions. This will ensure that staff in our control rooms and out on the road can be available for patients who need our help immediately.”

Response times to the NHS 111 service have improved in recent months.   More call handlers and clinicians have brought answer times down from around 40 minutes last winter to just over two minutes in September.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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