Welcome to SWASFT

March 2018

Ambulance service remind people to Choose Well this Easter

Paramedics at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) are urging members of the public to choose appropriately this Easter Bank Holiday as demand for the ambulance service is expected to increase.

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The Trust is expecting more than 11,000 incidents over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. North, East and West Devon are expected to be the busiest region with almost 1830 incidents. Please help our staff and volunteers to help those most in need by only calling 999 in a life threatening emergency and #ChooseWell

SWASFT is making more staff and vehicles available to combat the increased demand and is also advising members of the public to stop and think before dialing 999 for an emergency ambulance and to consider alternative treatment options if appropriate.

Examples of when to call 999 include choking, chest pain, stroke, serious blood loss and unconsciousness. Using the ambulance service in the correct way helps the Trust ensure that the most appropriate response is provided to those with a genuine clinical need.

Alternative healthcare options for less serious conditions include; visiting your local pharmacy, visiting a minor injuries unit or NHS walk-in centre, or calling NHS111. You can also find a whole host of information and advice online at http://www.nhs.uk

Dr Andy Smith, Medical Executive Director of SWASFT, says: “As the first busy Bank Holiday weekend in the south west approaches, we are predicting increased levels of calls to the 999 emergency ambulance service. With extra staff on duty, round the clock, we’re ready but the truth is we have a finite number of ambulances and highly-trained staff available. This means we will, as always, prioritise and focus on those patients in a time-critical life-threatening condition.

“We’re committed to delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time for the 5.3 million residents plus the 17.5 million visitors we serve in our region.  But over the Easter break we’d like to ask the public to stop and think ‘is this an emergency’ before dialling 999.”

People visiting the south west this Easter should also remember to bring any essential medicines and stock up on repeat prescriptions before they travel as many pharmacies will have reduced opening hours across the long weekend.

Dr Andy Smith added: “All our staff out on the road and in the clinical hubs are working extremely hard to deliver the right care to our patients. This Bank Holiday weekend we want to ensure that residents and tourists alike know where to access the most appropriate treatment depending on what is wrong with them.

“There are a wide variety of healthcare services available for a range of conditions and it is really important that people choose well, especially during periods when the demand for the ambulance service is high.”

Expected incident volumes by region between Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday:

Bath and North East Somerset










North, East, West Devon


North Somerset


South Devon and Torbay




South Gloucestershire






Young paramedics taste life on the front line

The next generation of paramedics were given a taste of emergency frontline work during two highly successful events run by South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) at the weekend.

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Student paramedic conference 2018

Around 300 aspiring clinicians attended the ‘Be a Better Paramedic’ Student Conference and the ‘Become a Paramedic Taster Day for A Level students where they were shown how to respond to medical emergencies.

Paramedics face critical incidents every day to save lives and to protect our communities.

Those who attended the events in Bristol on Saturday were taught how to deal with various situations, ranging from a minor head injury to a major live incident.

SWASFT University Liaison Officer, Jennings Mitchell, who was the main organiser, said: “We wanted to give the students and young people a real flavour of what it’s like to be a SWASFT paramedic. We also wanted to showcase our clinical and educational excellence – and why we’re regarded as one of the best trusts in the country to work for.

“We are really pleased with how the events went, and the feedback has been very positive. There was a vibrant atmosphere and positive energy throughout, which is really encouraging for the future.”

The Critical Care Team led a masterclass demonstrating how they would treat a patient with a traumatic brain injury.

The Hazardous Area Response Team acted-out a scenario in which a vehicle had driven down a High Street and collided with pedestrians, causing serious and fatal injuries.

The students and young people had the opportunity to meet the professional paramedics, and to view a range of ambulance vehicles and specialist equipment.

Adrian South, SWASFT Clinical Director, said: “We wanted the events to be as interactive as possible, and to show the breath of paramedic practice. We had sessions on a variety of topics intended to improve the clinical abilities of future paramedics.”

Both events took place at the University of West of England (UWE). The Student Conference built on the success of previous events in 2016 and 2017 for those studying towards a Paramedic Science degree. Meanwhile the Taster Day was the first of its kind run by SWASFT.

Ambulance chief thanks staff and South West community

The Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has thanked staff and the South West community for all their hard work over the past week. 

Ken Wenman praised both staff and the local communities for pulling together and helping out hard working ambulance crews whilst they carried out their emergency responses, battling the elements during the extreme cold weather.

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Ken praised his staff for their dedication and professionalism whilst working under such cold and difficult conditions – even just getting to work has seemed almost impossible at times.

“I’d like to thank our dedicated teams of volunteers and responders as well as the kind members of the public who had 4x4s and helped our crews to do their work during some exceptionally difficult conditions. 

“I have watched our teams go above and beyond their day-to-day frontline roles and have witnessed true commitment, compassion and dedication.

“I heard numerous examples of how many of our staff and members of the public showed true professionalism and duty of care to both patients and colleagues alike. There are too many names to mention individuals, but I want them to know that it is recognised and genuinely appreciated.

“It was an exceptionally difficult time for all of us in so many ways, thank you for giving so much.”


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: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/SWASC.