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10 December 2015, 13:39
People are being urged to only call an ambulance in an emergency after a series of time-wasting calls including a man fed up waiting for a taxi and a request to help a choking dog.
The Scottish Ambulance Service said staff deal with a 30% increase in calls at peak periods during the festive season and that inappropriate calls waste valuable time and resources.
Recent time-wasting calls include a man who dialled 999 because he was fed up waiting for a taxi after a night-out, someone with a sore finger who had cut their nail, a call for an ambulance for a choking dog and a request for the number to call NHS24.
Health chiefs said people should contact NHS 24 on 111 for any non-emergency issue that cannot wait until GP surgeries open or visit www.nhs24.com or www.nhsinform.co.uk.
Police Scotland introduced the 101 number to cut the number of non-emergency 999 calls to the force.
The number replaced local police station numbers and was set up to be used to report incidents such as stolen cars, property damage and minor traffic collisions.
Officers say 999 should still be used if someone is threatened or in danger, a crime is happening and when someone is injured.
Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: ``Our staff work tirelessly to respond to calls for help and deliver the most appropriate care, but the 999 service is for emergencies and we are asking the public to use it wisely so that we can continue to send ambulances quickly to those who need us most.
"At peak periods, like the festive season, every inappropriate call has the potential to put a life at risk and delay a response to a genuine emergency."