Paramedics Speak Out About Hoax Calls

5 January 2012, 10:24 | Updated: 5 January 2012, 10:42

South Central Ambulance received 1,235 hoax calls last year.

Examples of the calls include broken fingernails, needing help changing a light bulb and finding the TV remote control.

The ambulance service, which covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire, are starting a campaign today to show how lives are at risk by 999 hoaxes.

Paul Mitchell is a paramedic and emergency services manager working in West Berkshire with the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust for over 18 years. He says:

"We experience inappropriate calls everyday such as lonely people calling for a chat; calling us to mend a broken tap; and people who are regularly drunk.

"Whilst we are attending a person who is drunk, a person with a serious heart problem has to wait to be treated.

"The ambulance service is not an infinite resource. Please use it wisely and think before you dial 999." 

There is one ambulance available per 33,000 people across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Berkshire. Each time an ambulance is used inappropriately it is not available to attend a life-threatening situation.