Londoners are being urged to take extra care as the weather hots up this week.
The London Ambulance Service’s control room took a total of 10,605 calls on Saturday and Sunday – an increase of nearly a fifth on the previous weekend.
Frontline staff attended to 2,152 patients reported to be seriously ill or injured over the weekend, compared to 1,751 during the previous Saturday and Sunday – an increase of just under 23 per cent.
These emergency incidents included large numbers of patients treated for breathing problems (489 up from 369), chest pains (461 up from 412), loss of consciousness and fainting (437 up from 364).
The Department of Health has already issued a heatwave warning and with the hot weather set to continue for the next few days, the Service is now reminding Londoners to only call for an ambulance in a genuine emergency.
Deputy Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “Hot weather can be very dangerous for the young, older people or those with serious illnesses. With the temperatures set to be high over the next few days, our priority will continue to be to respond to patients who are seriously ill or injured.
“The weekend was very busy for both our control room and frontline staff and we would urge everyone to take care when they are out and about in the sun this week.
“Anyone with minor conditions should consider other healthcare options, such as calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visiting a minor injuries unit, NHS walk-in centre or local pharmacist. If they need to go to hospital for non-emergency treatment, they should use a taxi or get a lift from a friend or relative.”
To help prevent Londoners becoming casualties of the sunshine, the Service is also taking the opportunity to echo some common sense advice from the Department of Health:
- Some people are more at risk from the heat than others – for example, older people, babies and young children, and people with any pre-existing medical problems that can affect their breathing
- Try to keep as cool as possible – wear a hat when sitting or working outside and use plenty of suncream
- Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves
- Patients with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis should carry their prescribed reliever medication and those with hayfever should carry an anti-histamine
- People with serious health problems (for example heart conditions), should avoid going out in the heat, especially between 11am and 3pm
- Drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol in the sun
- Contact your doctor, pharmacist or NHS Direct (0845 46 47 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk) if you are worried about your health. In an emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance.
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