South Central Ambulance Service under "immense pressure"

  • WATCH: Fred speaks to Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at SCAS.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is currently under "immense pressure" with demand on 999 and 111 services seeing levels normally experienced in the busy New Year period.

SCAS says it is taking almost 2,000 emergency calls a day to 999 when it normally receives 1,600. It's 111 service is seeing more than 4,500 calls a day, up from 3,000.

It also blames delays handing over patients to hospitals, as some face capacity issues in our region.

Health officials are urging people to only call 999 in an emergency and 111 for urgent medical advice whilst pressure remains high.

The service is urging the public to only call in an emergency.

The rise in demand has been largely unrelated to Covid-19 so far, but SCAS stresses that the rising numbers of positive cases in our region is "a concern".

The public are being urged to utilise the full range of NHS services available, such as contacting their GP, using an urgent treatment centre or using digital services such as 111 online.

What other services can you use?

Urgent Treatment Centres

Urgent treatment centres (UTCs) are GP-led, open at least 12 hours a day, every day, offer appointments that can be booked through 111 or through a GP referral, and are equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for.

UTCs will also ease the pressure on hospitals, leaving other parts of the system free to treat the most serious cases. The UTC offer will result in decreased attendance at A&E, or, in co-located services offer the opportunity for streaming at the front door. All UTC services will be considered a Type 3 A&E.

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GP Practice

A General Practitioner (GP) is your family doctor and is the main point of contact for general healthcare for NHS patients. All UK residents are entitled to the services of an NHS GP.

GPs are highly skilled doctors who support patients throughout their lives. They help you to manage your health and prevent illness and are trained in all aspects of general medicine. This includes child health, mental health, adult medicine, the diagnosis and management of acute medical and surgical problems and the management of long term health conditions.

GPs assess, diagnose, treat and manage illness. They carry out screening for some cancers and promote general health and wellbeing. GPs act as a patient’s advocate, supporting and representing a patient’s best interests to ensure they receive the best and most appropriate health and/or social care.

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As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

If symptoms suggest it's something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

All pharmacists train for 5 years in the use of medicines. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment.

Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.

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