YEP Letters: December 21

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Festive advice from ambulance service

Rod Barnes, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

As a vital emergency service that provides life-saving care and treatment to people across Yorkshire and its many visitors throughout the year, the Christmas period is a normal working week for many of our staff.

To ensure patients receive the care they need our staff will be working in the emergency ambulance service, including those handling 999 calls in our two Emergency Operations Centres, and the 24/7 NHS 111 service which provides advice and help for those people who have an urgent healthcare need.

During December so far we have been experiencing rising demand and our emergency service has been very busy responding to everything from heart attacks and strokes to road traffic collisions and alcohol-related injuries. Our NHS 111 service has been providing advice on common ailments such as winter-related illnesses, headaches and minor injuries.

As the festive period is usually a challenging time for the NHS and emergency services, I am writing to your readers to ask them to do what they can to alleviate the pressure on our services.

This includes behaving responsibly, looking after friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable at this time of year and staying safe, whether at home or out and about on the roads or busy town centres.

This will help to avoid the need to call an ambulance - something no-one wants to do at this time of year.

Please ensure your medicine cabinet is well-stocked so that you can manage common health conditions at home, make sure you have sufficient prescription medicine to last over Christmas and the New Year and remember to pack your medication if you’re going away to stay with friends or relatives.

Take extra care when you are out and about, keep warm and ensure you drink responsibly when celebrating.

Only call 999 for an ambulance in an emergency when it is obvious that you or another person has a serious or life-threatening illness or injury and needs time-critical help.

We will always respond to patients needing vital medical assistance, but we find on many occasions that our staff are called out to deal with patients whose needs are less urgent. This means that emergency ambulances can be diverted away from patients with potentially very serious conditions.

People suffering from minor illnesses and injuries should consider more appropriate services for their needs such as visiting their local pharmacist or GP, attending a walk-in-centre or minor injuries unit or calling NHS 111.Whilst the majority of people do use our emergency service appropriately, some callers do need to be reminded about the importance of making the right choice about their healthcare needs and the NHS Choices website provides helpful information and advice on many common conditions, treatments and local services – www.nhs.uk

We also have a dedicated ‘Choose Well’ page on our website which contains details of local walk-in centres and minor injuries units across Yorkshire and the Humber, in addition to the NHS 111 service provided by the Trust.

You can find the page here http://www.yas.nhs.uk/Calling999/Choose_Well.html or by clicking on the Choose Well link on our homepage at www.yas.nhs.uk

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff who have worked hard over the last year to care for patients and to those who are working over the festive period for their continued dedication, compassion and professionalism during what will be our busiest time.

It is very much appreciated by our patients and their families.

I would also like to wish you and your readers a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

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Sympathy over flooding

Geoff Lodge, Leeds

I certainly feel sorry for the people of Carlisle and anyone else who has had their Christmas ruined by these terrible floods.

Nobody wants to see the inside of one’s house ruined every five or six years by climate change weather, which the weather experts say we are going to get for the foreseeable future.

The government has just spent millions on flood defences in the Carlisle area and yet the defences have been breached.

Wouldn’t it be helpful by the government to say to householders in the flood areas prepare for the worst. If the flood barriers are breached make sure the three main entries of water into one’s home are sealed.

1. Airbricks with a sealed bolt-on pad. 2. Doorways with a sealed bolt-on pad. 3. Drains into one’s house capped off and a dry toilet on stand by until the floods have subsided.

Provided the brickwork is tight, water ingress can be reduced by 80 per cent.

If the house has ground floor floorboards a few boards can be taken up and water under the boards can be pumped out.

With luck your ground floor furniture and carpets will remain dry.

YEP Letters: August 18