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Ambulance service adds more vehicles to help respond to non-emergency calls

Additional vehicles targeted at lower priority calls will begin to respond to patients in the coming weeks following investment by South East Coast Ambulance Service, (SECAmb).

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The Non-Emergency Transport (NET) vehicles, which will complement the Trust’s emergency fleet, will begin to be rolled out across SECAmb’s region this month.

A total of 30 Fiat ambulances are being refurbished and will be delivered, in a phased approach, to operational sites across the region at a rate of at least three a week.

All the vehicles are expected to be on the road by the end of February 2019 and are part of SECAmb’s plans to improve its response to patients not in a serious or life-threatening condition.

While the vehicles will be equipped with essential life-saving equipment including a defibrillator, and be able to attend as a first response to life-threatening calls, they will be primarily targeted to respond to patients who have been assessed by a Health Care Professional such as a Paramedic or GP and require non-emergency urgent transport to a healthcare facility with minimal clinical intervention.

The vehicles are in addition to more than 100 brand new vehicles which have been in the process of being rolled out across the Trust’s region at a rate of around four a week since the summer.

The vehicles will be crewed by Emergency Care Support Workers, alongside other non-registered clinicians such as Associate Ambulance Practitioners and Ambulance Technicians.

SECAmb Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said:

“This move is part of our work to ensure our fleet is appropriately set up to meet both demand and individual patient needs, following the introduction of new ambulance response standards last year.

“The vehicles will help us to better respond to patients in the community who, while not in a serious or life-threatening condition, nevertheless need an urgent ambulance response. The patients they will be targeted towards will have already been assessed by a registered health care professional such as one of our paramedics, a GP, hospital doctor or mental health clinician.

“We are confident that this, as part of a wider range of measures, including increasing the number of emergency vehicles and staff, will have a positive impact on our response time performance and benefit all of our patients.”

Health & Wellbeing

Local NHS urging locals to get jab as flu rates shoot up 85%

The local NHS is urging people to get their flu jab and highlighting treatment advice, after flu cases shot up by 85 per cent within the space of a week in England.

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Health bosses warn this winter’s influenza outbreak is now beginning to take hold and urging those eligible to get their flu jab now – GP consultation rate in the South East for flu like illnesses has risen from 10.3 per 100,000 to 14.2 in just one week, which is adding more pressure on local health services.

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can be a very unpleasant illness with symptoms including fever, stuffy nose dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness, which can often last several days.

Flu can’t be treated with antibiotics – flu is caused by viruses and antibiotics only work against bacteria.

Those who get the flu will get better more quickly if they:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Make sure they keep warm
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Gareth Howells, Deputy Director of Urgent Care and Systems Resilience for Central Sussex and East Surrey Commissioning Alliance-North, said

The best form of protection against flu is to get the vaccine, and to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene. It isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine so make sure you take up the offer if you’re eligible, to protect yourself and vulnerable people around you.

“We are advising those who already have flu-like symptoms to rest, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol where needed.”

In order to reduce the impact of flu on local NHS services, residents and visitors to the city are being asked to make sure they use the right service for their medical needs, freeing up emergency care for those most in need.

The NHS Minor Injuries Unit Queen Victoria Hospital and Horsham Hospital are available for treatment without appointments; the Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital is also available 24 hours a day, NHS 111 is available all day every day and www.nhs.uk is available to check symptoms online around the clock.

A pharmacist can also help with flu, offering treatment advice and recommend flu remedies, and give guidance on giving medicines to children. No appointment necessary to see a local pharmacist and most have private consultation areas, and will say if you need further medical attention. fffffffffffff

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