Ambulance bosses urge people to stay safe ahead of ‘Black Friday’

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

The region’s ambulance bosses have urged revellers to “be prepared and stay safe” ahead of ‘Black Friday’ where office Christmas parties put a strain on emergency resources.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) wants people to ensure they are taking the right steps to be safe, avoid accidents and enjoy the festivities safely.

The service is facing one of its busiest days of the year on Friday, with a surge in calls expected in connection with office Christmas parties and nights out.

The trust has published its winter plan, which includes staffing, resourcing and management arrangements.

It is also putting specific plans in place for the Christmas and New Year period, including increased clinical support in control rooms.

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But the public are being urged to prevent any need for emergency or urgent care by following simple advice now.

Dr Tom Davis, EEAST’s medical director, said: “Our robust plan puts patients at the heart of what we do by working closely with hospitals and other NHS partners to ensure patients get the best quality care.

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“This is a time of year when we get together with family and friends to celebrate. We ask that people just take a little time to prepare for a safe celebration, so they can enjoy Christmas.

“If you get prepared for the Christmas fortnight, it can pay dividends and prevent you needing to use NHS services.”

EEAST issued the following advice and guidance for festive celebrations and the winter weather:

• Have enough medication to use if you or your family suffer the effects of over-indulgence, or have a minor scrape which can be treated at home

• If you’re out for the evening, ensure you’ve booked a taxi home or there’s a designated driver in your party

• Always keep well hydrated with water and soft drinks, and keep well fed

• Cold weather can make some conditions even worse -if someone you know uses medication long-term, make sure they have enough to hand

• Remember what options to use if you do find you need some help – 111 is over the phone, or speak with your GP or nearest pharmacist. Social media users can follow NHS England’s #HelpUsHelpYou for more information.

The ambulance service says its work will be overseen by a new regional tactical command cell, which will ensure senior staff are available and on-call 24/7 and can escalate any issues which may arise so that immediate mitigating action can be taken.

It will also monitor hospital turnaround data to give an overview of where capacity is available and act as a single point of contact for all external NHS partners, such as hospitals and commissioners, to improve communication and joint working.

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