East of England Ambulance Service’s appeal after hundreds of hoax 999 calls


- Credit: Archant

A broken toenail and a woman who wanted an escort home are just some of the bizarre reasons why people have called 999 for an ambulance.

New figures released reveal the East of England Ambulance Service received 312 hoax calls between April and December last year - including 42 in Hertfordshire and 43 in Bedfordshire - which diverted time away from genuine emergencies.

This is in addition to a number of other 999 calls where alternatives to an emergency ambulance would have been more appropriate.

As part of a campaign - It’s Your Call - the ambulance service is highlighting ridiculous calls to make people think twice about calling 999.

Such calls include a man ringing to say he had broken a toenail, a woman asking for an escort home because there was too much traffic and she needed to breastfeed her baby, and a man who was bitten by a rat the previous day.

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Other calls in the past have concerned a drowning goldfish, an injured cat and a dead squirrel.

Gary Morgan, deputy director of service delivery at the emergency operations centres, said: “It is extremely disappointing that people continue to call 999 for inappropriate reasons, as these 999 calls have the potential to divert attention away from real emergencies.

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“We’d urge the public to remember that the ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain and breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, strokes, trauma, choking and severe allergic reactions.

“Please consider the use of other services such as your local pharmacy, GP or calling 111 if it isn’t an emergency.”

For more information about the It’s Your Call campaign, visit www.eastamb.nhs.uk

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