Message in a bottle could help save lives

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has joined forces with the Lions Club to deliver the “Message in a Bottle” message.

The Message in a Bottle scheme is a simple idea designed to encourage people living on their own to keep basic personal and medical details in a common location where it can be found in an emergency.

The scheme, which has been running for some time, is expanding across the south west and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), in partnership with the Lions Club, will act as a distribution point when ambulance clinicians identify vulnerable people within the community.

Martyn Callow, Stakeholder Engagement Manager for SWASFT said: “We were approached by Dennis Peters of Bridgwater Lions Club and have now taken delivery of the first batch of 6,300 bottles which will be distributed to all ambulance stations across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the greater Bristol area.

“The scheme will improve the delivery of emergency and urgent care and save valuable time when assessing and treating our patients, helping us deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time. We are extremely grateful to the Lions Club for this partnership opportunity.”

The bottles are free and members of the public can get them from local health centres, doctors’ surgeries or chemists. Ambulance crews will also be giving them to patients they attend who they feel could benefit from this scheme.

The bottles should be kept in the fridge where all community healthcare professionals know to look for them and should contain all relevant medical information, including copies of repeat prescriptions and next of kin details.

If more than one person lives at the address each member of the household should complete a separate form and attach a passport-size photo to the relevant form.

For further information visit www.swast.nhs.uk

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