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In the run up to Christmas please spare a thought for your local ambulance service

With winter pressures just around the corner and the Christmas party season traditionally starting the last weekend in November please spare a thought for your local ambulance service and the people who need us most.

Misuse of the ambulance costs lives. Please only call 999 in the event of a genuine medical emergency such as a serious accident, severe loss of blood, heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke, or breathing difficulty. For non life threatening injury or illness Choose Well and:

•·         Call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 (24hrs)

•·         Call your Out of Hours GP Service

•·         Consult your local pharmacist

•·         Go to your local Walk-in-Centre or your Minor Injuries Unit

•·         Go to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department

With the party season upon us once again please drink responsibly and ONLY call for an ambulance in the event of a life threatening medical emergency. Between Saturday 26 November and Saturday 17 December 2011 South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) received 35389 emergency calls.  The last Saturday before Christmas is traditionally our busiest night. On Saturday 17 December 2011 we dealt with 1441 calls. That's 22% more calls than we attended on an average Saturday in 2011. On an average Saturday in 2011 we attended 1179 calls across the four counties of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire.

Like all public sector organisations SCAS is under pressure to save money whilst at the same time continuing to provide the best possible mobile healthcare to those who most need it. With each incident we attend costing an average of £247 SCAS is asking the public to access the service responsibly to help to ensure that resources remain available to respond to genuine medical emergencies this winter.

You can help us by drinking responsibly in the run up to Christmas. The best advice is never to drink and drive. The penalties are severe, but the potential impact on you and other innocent parties can be life changing, even fatal.

Enjoy any pre Christmas parties and avoid driving after drinking alcohol. Leave your car at home, use public transport or arrange alternative transport such as a taxi.

If you go to a party and know you're going to be driving the next day:

 •·         Know your limits and drink within the daily guidelines - men 3-4 units and women 2-3 units per day

•·         Opt for lower strength drinks and drink singles rather than doubles when drinking spirits

•·         Alternate the alcoholic drinks you do have with soft drinks or water

•·         Stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so your body has time to process the alcohol before the following morning.

And remember, if in doubt, please don't drive. Drinking alcohol irresponsibly may cost you more than money and mean that vital ambulance resources are not available to respond to genuinely life-threatening medical emergencies such as heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest.

 

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