When 999 Calls Start Bad

The Ambulance service say this year ALONE - they've already had calls from a man on a diet in Hitchin, who said he was feeling lethargic after trying to slim.

In Peterborough - they had a call from someone who was complaining their shoes were TOO small for their feet.

Other inappropriate calls include:

  • 'Is it ok for a little squirrel to die?'  - Caller tries to argue the case that an ambulance should have been sent to a squirrel who had been the victim of a 'hit and run'. Two ambulance crews had been dispatched until it was established that the 'someone' was a squirrel.
  • 'I've gone out shopping and locked myself out of my house." - woman needing emergency locksmiths
  • 'My dog is vomiting blood' - woman in Wisbech calls 999 for a sick pet. She is advised to phone a veterinarian
  • 'I've eaten too much take-away food" - woman feeling a bit sick after a day of indulgence
  • 'I've dropped my burger and it is bleeding,' - caller has take-away accident
  • 'I need to go to hospital and I don't get paid until tomorrow' - man calls 999 for a free taxi service

The Trust say they receive on average around 2,500 calls a day. However, not all of them are life-threatening or require emergency care.

Bosses from EEAST are also advising the public that such inappropriate or prank calls could divert ambulance resources from genuine emergencies such as cardiac arrests, strokes and patients with breathing difficulties.

Over the last two years, the Trust has received 1,248 hoax calls and front-line crews have attended almost half of those, believing them to be genuine emergencies, according to new figures.

Gary Morgan, Regional Head of Emergency Operations Centres, said:

"We're an emergency service and our front-line staff are trained to save lives. However, sadly, some of the calls we receive are not even medical related and we will refer hoax calls to the police.

We prioritise all life-threatening calls to get the quickest possible response. However, that response can be affected if our call handlers and front-line staff are dealing with inappropriate 999 calls.

We would strongly urge people who think it is funny to make a prank call to stop and think about the potential consequences."
The Trust today launches a new video behind the scenes of one of our emergency operation centres to show people how 999 calls are answered and prioritised and what patients can do to help us.

To view the video, click HERE

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