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Local ambulance service seeks publics help this Easter

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is seeking the public’s help ahead of what is expected to be a busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

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The Trust has planned ahead for the expected increase in demand but is urging people to use the service wisely and to seek alternatives to 999 if not faced with a life-threatening or serious emergency.

Over the course of the Easter weekend in 2018, staff in SECAmb’s Emergency Operations Centres in Crawley and Coxheath answered in excess of 8,000 calls. Across the region the NHS 111 service also faced high demand handing some 25,000 calls in the four days.

During any period of high demand, SECAmb works hard to prioritise its response to patients with the greatest need. Anyone not facing a serious or life-threatening emergency is likely to wait longer for a response. Those not facing a serious emergency are urged to consider alternatives to 999 including calling NHS 111, visiting a walk-in centre or speaking to a pharmacist.

The Trust is also reminding people to order any repeat prescriptions and check opening hours of their GP surgeries and local pharmacies. Details of local services can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search

SECAmb Executive Director of Operations Joe Garcia said:

“We know that Easter is a busy time of year for us and the wider NHS. With schools off and a long Bank Holiday weekend we are anticipating an increase in demand.

“With this in mind we’re urging the public to remember to only dial 999 if it’s they’re facing a life-threatening or serious emergency. We will be working hard to reach all patients who need a face-to-face assessment as quickly as possible but prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.

“People can really help us by remembering to make use of alternatives to 999 including calling NHS 111, where staff will also be working hard to provide people with the assistance they need.

“As ever, and throughout this period, our staff will be working extremely hard to get our patients the help they need. I’d like to thank every member of staff and all our Community First Responder volunteers for their continued hard work and commitment.”

Health & Wellbeing

FREE water refills now available at Three Bridges Station as retailers join campaign

33 retailers at Govia Thameslink Railway stations have committed to a campaign to reduce single-use plastic bottle by offering free tap water refills for passengers.

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It’s National Refill Day today (Wednesday 19 June) which is a public awareness day to mark the campaign, designed to reduce single-use plastic bottles by encouraging people to carry a reusable water bottle and refill on the go.

Part of the campaign is highlighting where members of the public can find free drinking water through the Refill app, with GTR’s Environment team signing up 33 retailers across the rail operator’s stations to support the project.

GTR’s Environment team has been working with staff members that serve as Area Champions for the Environment (ACEs) to encourage tenants at stations to join the campaign.

On the Southern network, Runaway Café in Lewes and the N+1 Bike Centre and Café at Brighton have signed up to the scheme.

On the Thameslink route, AMT Coffee at St Albans has joined; Caffe Kimbo and La Baguette Parisienne, both at Luton station, have also signed up.

Samantha Lear, Environment Manager for Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“GTR is supporting Refill to help reduce plastic waste, an important issue which needs action on a personal as well as national level. We are so pleased to see so many of our retailers sign up as refill points with our teams of ACEs and hope that many more will follow soon.”

With the campaign research showing that 71% of people feel uncomfortable asking for free tap water when not making a purchase, Refill log all participating retailers on their app so that consumers can find the closest shop, cafe or restaurant taking part in the scheme.

According to Refill, if 1 in 10 people in Britain refilled a bottle rather than buying a single use plastic bottle just once a week, around 340 million plastic bottles would be saved each year.

Natalie Fee, Founder at City to Sea, said:

“We’re really pleased that GTR are part of the Refill Revolution this National Refill Day! Their support makes it even easier for everyone to find free drinking water when travelling – meaning we can all save money and save the planet from plastic pollution in one go! People from all walks of life are carrying a reusable bottle now and with GTR making it easier for people to Refill, we’re rapidly doing away with the need to buy planet-polluting plastic bottled water!”

The campaign is a partnership between Refill and Water UK run by City to Sea with additional support from the English water companies, Chilly’s Bottles, Robeco and the Mayor of London.

Refill estimates that the project will save more than 100 million single-use bottles from entering the waste stream by the end of 2019.

Retailers at the following Govia Thameslink Railway stations have signed up to the scheme:

Epsom

Luton

Luton Airport Parkway

Bedford

St Albans

Brighton

Lewes

Blackfriars

Three Bridges

East Croydon

Letchworth Garden City

Seaford

Berwick

Peterborough

St Neots

Littlehampton

West Hampstead Thameslink

Elephant & Castle

City Thameslink

New Cross Gate

Flitwick

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

www.southernrailway.com, www.thameslinkrailway.com, www.gatwickexpress.com, www.greatnorthernrail.com

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