‘Keep the 999 line free for me’ urges South Western Ambulance Service
17th December 2014
... Comments

This awareness raising campaign will run for at least the winter period and encourages people to question whether or not they really need to dial 999. Many of the 999 calls made to the service could actually be better dealt with by ringing the NHS111 number or seeking advice from a pharmacist or GP.


The posters being used in support of this campaign use images to convey an emergency situation, whilst signposting people to alternative care pathways including NHS111.


Examples of life threatening conditions where an ambulance response is appropriate are when someone is unconscious, not breathing, heart attacks, strokes and uncontrollable bleeding. Instead the service often receives 999 calls from people suffering from minor injuries and even from those trying to get help for animals. Dogs and cats suffering from fits and suspected strokes are not something that the ambulance service is able to help with.


SWASFT is currently dealing with approximately 2500 calls in every 24 hour period, which is an unprecedented number considering the festive season has only just begun. The Trust would normally only expect to see such numbers at peak times of demand over Christmas.


Deputy Clinical Director Adrian South said, “It can sometimes be difficult for people to know where to turn when they are worried about their health, particularly when they feel that the issue is too urgent to wait to see their own GP. If someone’s life may be in danger with a condition such as severe chest pain, shortness of breath, unconsciousness or following a serious road traffic collision or injury with uncontrollable bleeding, they should call 999. If the condition is less urgent then the NHS111 service is a fantastic source of advice, and can direct people to a wide range of NHS services including pharmacies, GPs, Minor injury units and Walk-in Centres.


“At the moment we are dealing with an unprecedented level of demand. Its important to consider that every time we deal with a call which is not an emergency, it may delay our response to patients who are severely ill or injured; those cases where every second counts”.

About the Author

Dave B

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I am Dave, I run thebestof Exeter along with my colleagues. If you want to promote your business or event, get in touch with us on 01392 349 130.

Popular Categories