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Support your ambulance service this May bank holiday weekend

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is encouraging people to use the right healthcare service this early May bank holiday weekend as the region prepares for an further influx of visitors.

Residents and tourists to the South West are being reminded to only dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

Bank holiday weekends can be a busy time for 999 services, especially if the weather turns out to warm and sunny – whether in the garden, doing DIY at home, visiting family and friends or exploring the region’s beauty spots.

Ahead of the May bank holiday weekend, the advice is to:

  • Continue to call 999 in emergency and life-threatening cases - when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

  • Visit NHS 111 online for non-life-threatening medical help or advice.

  • Make sure you have ordered and collected any repeat medicines.

  • Make use of community pharmacies, which can advise on minor illnesses and provide medications. Details of which pharmacies are open over the May bank holiday weekend can be found via the interactive map.

Visitors to the South West are reminded that their first point of call for GP care is their home practice, who will be able to provide online, phone and video consultations as well as arranging for prescriptions to be sent to a pharmacy of their choose.

Will Warrender, Chief Executive of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to be there for everyone that needs us in a medical emergency, but we need your support to help us to help you. Please only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency, this will ensure we have crews available for patients with the most life-threatening conditions.

“If you need urgent medical help, but it isn’t an emergency, please visit NHS 111 online or a community service such as a minor injury unit or a pharmacy.

“I would also like to thank our people and NHS colleagues who will be working over the bank holiday weekend to help keep us all safe and well. Should you need their support, please be kind to them, they are working hard under huge pressures currently.”

People are reminded not to call 999 back for an estimated arrival time of an ambulance. They should only call back if the patient’s condition worsens or they no longer need an ambulance. This helps keep phone lines free for others in need.

Which service should I access?

  • Self-care – for things like grazed knees, coughs, and colds

  • Pharmacy – visit your local pharmacy for headaches, upset stomachs, aches and pains

  • NHS 111 – visit online or call 111 for advice and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week

  • GP – call your GP for symptoms that won’t go away

  • Minor injuries unit – attend your local minor injuries unit for urgent non-life-threatening conditions and injuries such as sprains, fractures, and burns

  • 999 – call 999 for life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, fits that aren’t stopping, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, severe allergic reactions, suspected stroke, and serious head injuries.

South Western Ambulance Charity logo

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