Best of Health Awards recognise 999 Misuse Costs Lives
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust's (SCAS) 999 Misuse Costs Lives campaign has won a Silver Award in the Consumer Film category and a Bronze Award in the Consumer Mixed Media category at the prestigious IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) Best of Health Awards held on 28 June in the Great Hall of Vinopolis in London Bridge.
SCAS CEO Will Hancock together with SCAS Head of Communications & PR Gillian Hodgetts were presented with the two awards by Justin Tindall, Chair of Judges and Group Executive Creative Director Leo Burnett.
The IPA Best of Health Awards showcase and reward the best in creativity in healthcare across all media. From the record 406 submissions entered into this year's Awards, twenty won Silver, eighty won Bronze and Special Prizes were awarded for Best of Show for advertising to consumers, Best of Show for advertising to healthcare professionals, Best Use of Photography, Copywriting and Art Direction, as well as three new prizes for Integrated Idea, Local Innovation and Young Talent.
Demand for your local ambulance service has doubled in the last 10 years and continues to increase at around 10% per year. It costs around £480,000 to run an ambulance for a year and approximately £257 for an ambulance to attend an incident.
The 999 Misuse Costs Lives campaign was launched in January 2012 in response to SCAS receiving 1,235 hoax calls and many more inappropriate calls during 2011. It is designed to raise awareness of appropriate use of the ambulance service, to encourage people to access the service appropriately and to reduce inappropriate demand on, and misuse of the ambulance service.
The campaign includes a viral video entitled '999 South Central - Misuse Costs Lives' hosted by YouTube. This video and a further viral video on the trust's Crews' Views have received in excess of 70,000 hits to date. The campaign is supported through Twitter@SCAS999 and by a pro-active media campaign in the local, regional and national media.
A range of vehicle vinyl decals proclaiming the Misuse Costs Lives message has been produced for the trust's fleet of Ambulances, Motor Cycles and Rapid Response Vehicles.
Gillian Hodgetts, SCAS' Head of Communications and PR said:
'Winning both Silver and Bronze in these prestigious awards is a huge achievement for our ambulance service. These awards are testament to the enthusiasm that our staff had for wanting to produce an impactful viral, that literally has the potential to save lives.
'By increasing awareness that '999 Misuse Costs Lives', this campaign aims to help the public understand what constitutes a medical emergency requiring a 999 response and highlights that there are a range of other health service options available to them if an incident is not a medical emergency.'
Please do your bit to help your local ambulance service and think before you dial 999. The emergency ambulance service exists for genuine medical emergencies and life-threatening situations only. The Trust has one ambulance per 33,000 people. Calling for an ambulance when you don't need one can put another person's life at risk by tying up a valuable resource that could respond to a genuine life threatening medical emergency!
We hope our '999 South Central' campaign will encourage everyone to use their local ambulance service responsibly.'
'999 South Central' can be viewed on line at www.999southcentral.co.uk/
Published 29 June 2012