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Help your ambulance service this festive period

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is urging communities across the region to use its services responsibly this festive period, as it prepares for a challenging and busy time.

The Trust is expecting a period of significant and sustained demand across its 999 services - a position that is reflected across other health and care organisations locally, regionally, and nationally.


Boxing Day is traditionally the busiest day over the festive break for the service. In response to this, Trust leaders are asking communities to ‘help us to help you’ by following the below steps:

  • Only call 999 when someone is seriously injured or ill and their life may be at risk. For example, if someone is unconscious, not breathing or is bleeding heavily.

  • If you’re waiting for an ambulance, please don’t call 999 back — unless the patient’s condition has deteriorated or you no longer need an ambulance — to ask when one will arrive, these details can’t be provided, as ambulances are sent to patients with the most life-threatening conditions first.

  • For non-life-threatening emergencies, people can access appropriate care by visiting NHS 111 online, contacting their GP or getting advice from a pharmacy.

Wayne Darch, Deputy Director of Operations at SWASFT, said: “We want everyone to enjoy the festive celebrations, and we’re urging local communities to use our services responsibly, and choose the right care for them.

“We want to be there for everyone that needs us in a medical emergency, to ensure this, we need to have crews available for patients with the most life-threatening conditions. Please only call 999 if someone is seriously injured or ill, for anything else, please contact NHS 111.

“I would like to thank our people and NHS colleagues who will be working throughout the Christmas and New Year period to help keep us all safe and well. Should you need their support, please be kind to them, they are working hard under huge daily pressures.”


For non-life-threatening emergencies, people can access appropriate care by visiting NHS 111 online, contacting their GP or getting advice from a pharmacy.

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South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: Donate to South Western Ambulance Charity | Give as you Live Donate