The Department of Health and Social Care would like to encourage the public to support the Ambulance Service ‘Choose Well’ campaign.
The ‘Choose Well’ campaign was launched in July 2011, with a focus on reducing the number of non-emergency 999 calls requesting an ambulance. Since its launch the campaign has helped to drive down inappropriate demand and the department has seen a decrease compared to previous months.
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK said:
'No one should be put off seeking medical attention and the Department will ensure that the public receive the treatment they require in an urgent or emergency situation, no matter the hour or day of the year. It is clear to see that the message to ‘Choose Well’ has been supported throughout the Island since its launch.
“It is important that we maintain momentum and ensure that the Ambulance Service can efficiently manage demand right the way through the festive period. It’s important for the public to know when it is appropriate to call MEDS, the Island’s out of hours GP service; and when they should attend the Minor Injuries Unit at Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital or Accident and Emergency ('A&E') at Noble’s Hospital; and of course when to dial 999.'
Last December and January the service demand leapt by 30% (999 calls requesting an ambulance increased above average by 150) on top of the regular 500 to 600 calls that the Ambulance Service normally respond to per month. The 2010/11 winter was the busiest period ever experienced by the Island’s Ambulance Service.
Steve Sieling, Chief Ambulance Officer said:
'We have been pleased with results so far and would like to thank everyone for listening to our message and for seeking alternatives to calling 999 for urgent care type situations. However we must not be complacent; as history as shown, December and January are our busiest months of the year and with the added obstacles that the wintery weather presents us with, we can have problems moving around. We therefore need the community’s support more than ever to keep vital resources free for emergencies. Unless it is an emergency - where we will respond without delay - if you do have a minor injury or illness please use the ‘Choose Well’ information to obtain the appropriate service for your condition.'
The message from the department is: Please ‘Choose Well’ and keep ambulances free for life threatening emergencies. Choose Well leaflets are available from Pharmacies, Doctor’s Surgeries, Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital, Noble’s Hospital, Ambulance HQ and Department of Health Headquarters, Crookall House. Please also see downloadable documents.
Patients who need to consult a GP urgently out-of-hours for matters that cannot wait until their GP surgery re-opens should telephone the Manx Emergency Doctors’ Service ('MEDS') on +44 1624 650355. The A&E department at Noble’s Hospital is available specifically for patients who have an injury or severe illness.