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Trust wins Silver in Thames and Chiltern CIPR PRide Awards 2012.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust's (SCAS) 999 Misuse Costs Lives campaign has been named silver winner of the Healthcare category in the 2012 Thames and Chiltern Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards.

SCAS' '999 Misuse Costs Lives' campaign is a multi media Public Relations campaign  aimed at reducing hoax and inappropriate calls to the local ambulance service in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire.

The CIPR PRide Awards, sponsored nationally by Precise, PRWeek and RedBrand, receive over 1,000 entries from freelancers, consultancies and in-house teams across twelve UK regions and nations. The judging process for the PRide Awards is rigorous with a national panel of industry experts assessing the shortlisted entries and choosing the winners. The 2012 Chairs of Judges, Gill Dandy FCIPR, Senior Consultant at The Centre for Strategy and Communication, and Chris Genasi FCIPR, Senior Consultant at APCO Worldwide, assisted in ensuring a fair and consistent judging process.

CIPR CEO, Jane Wilson MCIPR, commented:

'The Thames and Chiltern CIPR PRide Awards celebrate the best PR and communications campaigns and teams from across the region. The sheer number of high quality entries received this year, especially when things are still pretty tough out there economically, is testament to a thriving regional industry. The CIPR PRide Awards represent the best, most creative and most effective public relations work across the UK, to be a silver winner means your work has been judged as amongst the best in your area by leading PR experts. Congratulations on your achievement.'

Gillian Hodgetts, SCAS' Head of Communications & PR said:

'I'm delighted that the contribution of our ambulance staff, who played such a vital, visible and valuable role in creating this campaign in relating their experience of attending inappropriate calls and in bringing it to life by appearing in the viral video, has been recognised by this award.

'Misuse of the service means that vital ambulance resources may be diverted to inappropriate calls and, as such, may be unable to attend genuine life threatening medical emergencies in the communities we serve.'

Demand on the local ambulance service has doubled in the last 10 years with SCAS now receiving around 1030 emergency calls every day, of which 300 are potentially life-threatening. In 2011 the trust received 1,235 hoax calls and many more inappropriate calls.

Since launching the campaign in January 2012 SCAS has seen a 13% reduction in inappropriate calls and the 999 South Central - '999 Misuse Costs Lives' viral video hosted by YouTube has received in excess of 75000 hits.      

If you are suffering from a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack, severe loss of blood, difficulty breathing or a serious accident, dial 999 immediately.

If you are not suffering from a life-threatening emergency but require medical advice or treatment there are several different options available to you. You can:

  • Self Care - Make sure you keep your medicine cabinet stocked up with basic medicines to treat minor illnesses and ailments
  • Call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 (24hrs)
  • Contact your local Pharmacist
  • Call your GP practice or Out of Hours GP Service
  • Go to your local Walk-in-Centre or Minor Injuries Unit
  • Go to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department.


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