THE Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding members of the public about what they can do to help make their hospital admission go hitch free this Christmas.
The Trust is once again promoting the Green Bag scheme, which encourages people to keep all of their prescription medicines in one place and readily to hand.
The special green bags, available on all ambulances and from hospital pharmacies, are for patients to put their medication in, so whether they are going to hospital unexpectedly or for a planned procedure they can take their tablets, medicines, creams, inhalers and herbal supplements with them.
The Trust is also reminding the public about the Message in a Bottle scheme, which encourages people to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form in a common location – the fridge.
The scheme, which is run by the Lions Club, provides patients with a free plastic container which inside it has a proforma where patients can list their personal details, current medications, allergies and medical history details.
The scheme is designed to save the emergency services valuable time if they need to enter a property in an emergency situation.
Richard Lee, Head of Clinical Services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The Christmas period is traditionally a very busy time for us, so we’re encouraging our patients to help us out by playing their part to make sure we can quickly identify key personal and medical information in an emergency.
“It is extremely important that patients take their own medicines into hospital, because it enables doctors to know exactly what medicines they are taking and the patient will continue to receive the correct dose at the right time. Keeping everything together in one place makes it easier for both the patients, ambulance crews and hospital staff.
“It is also very important that we can ascertain this key information quickly. Sometimes when people are ill they cannot recall this key information and the Message in a Bottle scheme will help us to do that.
“Whilst the scheme is focused on more vulnerable people in a community, anyone can have an accident in the home, so this scheme is available to anyone.”
Richard had this advice for patients over the Christmas and New Year period:
- Make sure you have enough medication to see you through the festive period when opening hours for pharmacies and doctors surgeries will be affected
- If you are staying with a friend or relative for Christmas don’t forget to take your medicines – the ambulance service or accident and emergency department will not be able to issue prescriptions
- Make sure you know where your on call pharmacy is over the festive period – call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 to find out