Ambulances Waste Times On Hoax Calls

27 December 2017, 07:22


Hoax calls have cost ambulance staff almost 30,000 "precious" minutes over the past five years.

New figures from the Scottish Ambulance Service show 28,107 minutes of ambulance crew time have been lost to malicious calls since 2012/13.

The figures were released after a freedom of information request from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who earlier this year revealed that the number of hoax calls has doubled since 2012.

The party's health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said those making hoax calls were "a threat to people in urgent need".

He said: "Our emergency services are doing a difficult job and saving countless lives. The service attends around 700,000 call outs a year and staff are busier and busier. The last thing they need to be dealing with is people wasting time and resources when others are in need.

"Minutes can be precious when responding to incidents so to lose almost 30,000 of them must be immensely frustrating for the staff involved.

"These figures show that this malicious behaviour is a persistent issue.

"We need to ensure that the Scottish Ambulance Service and other agencies have the resources they need to educate people over the dangers that malicious calls pose."

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "Anyone who calls 999 without a genuine need is potentially putting lives at risk by tying up valuable resources that could be needed to respond to a life-threatening call.

"When appropriate, malicious or nuisance callers are reported to the police, however in many cases the call is a result of a social issue rather than malice and the patient may still need assistance.

"In these cases, the relevant agencies are advised so that appropriate care can be provided."