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Busy winter for Wellington Free Ambulance

Busy winter for Wellington Free Ambulance

Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics are being kept busy as the region’s bleak conditions and wintery chills boost ambulance call-outs.

Wellington Free Ambulance service delivery manager Rob Ives says paramedics attended 4,226 incidents around Greater Wellington and Wairarapa in June compared to 3,673 in February.

“June through to August are typically our busiest months. We’ve taken on eight new staff in recent months as part of our general staffing plan, so that’s a big help in making sure we have the right number of people on the ground. Things generally get busy from lunch time through to early evening so we have an extra vehicle that comes on over this time,” Mr Ives says.

The extra ambulance call outs at this time of year typically come from chest infections and breathing problems. Heart attacks are also more common in cold weather.

Winter sports injuries feature prominently, as do an increased number of road accidents due to winter conditions, and specific conditions like hypothermia, particularly in the elderly.

Wellington Free Ambulance medical director Dr Andy Swain says there are a few things people can do to look after themselves and their family.
· Eat sensibly, keep warm and stay dry as much as you can.
· Keep up immunisations and take advantage of ‘flu injections where possible.
· Keep coughs and colds to yourself – stay home if you can.
· Allow plenty of time if you’re driving, and drive to the conditions.
· Make sure you are visible – use your car and bicycle lights, or if you’re out walking wear clothes that can be seen easily.
· Save those jobs that need you to be up a ladder or on a roof for better weather.
· Keep an eye out for your friends and neighbours, especially the elderly.

“Call 111 if you have a medical emergency,” Dr Swain says. “It’s our job to work out the help you need.

“If you’re worried about your health, call Healthline or see your GP. You may be better staying in your own home than coming to hospital.”


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