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St John urges public to prioritise their wellbeing this winter

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The most important thing you can do this winter is be immunised against influenza and seek advice from a health professional if you are unwell, St John Medical Director Dr Tony Smith says.

Each winter the surge of 111 ambulance calls continues to increase, which despite St John’s best efforts to triage and treat people in-home, places a lot of pressure on the ambulance service and the hospital emergency departments.

St John has issued five key messages to the public to help them look after themselves and each other this winter:

Choose well - immunise against flu, treat minor symptoms at home.

Seek help - if symptoms persist, call your doctor, Healthline or visit your pharmacy or health professional early for advice.

Prepare - if you have a medical condition such as asthma or COPD or something where symptoms exacerbate during the colder months, keep on top of your routine medication

Self-care - common colds, coughs, sore throats can usually be very well managed at home with the assistance of your local pharmacy

In an emergency - call 111, and we will find the most appropriate help for you through a clinical assessment. This may not be an ambulance or transport to an emergency department, but you will get the right care, at the right time.

"This is the first year the St John 111 Clinical Hub has been in place nationwide, helping triage emergency 111 calls to make sure callers receive the most appropriate advice and treatment. Likewise, this helps us to ensure that the patients in the most urgent need are receiving an appropriately urgent response," Dr Smith says.

The latest flu season has been catastrophic internationally, particularly Europe and the UK, and St John has taken a number of measures to ensure the ambulance service is well prepared.

"We have done thorough data analysis showing us where the peaks and troughs, hot spots, and demand surges are, so that we can appropriately allocate extra resource to those areas, be it more ambulances or more rostered ambulance officers, St John has taken every step available to it to help ease winter health pressures," Dr Smith says.

We are asking the public to also play their part by engaging with their GPs and pharmacies early and follow our Choose Well advice.

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