999 is not to help find the TV remote!

editorial image
Have your say

AMBULANCE crews have been called to help find a TV remote and pass a woman a glass of water because she did not want to get out bed.

These are two of the inappropriate real-life 999 calls received by the South Central Ambulance Service during 2011.

Last year the service received a total of 1,235 hoax or inappropriate calls.

Simon Lukas, a team leader working in Buckinghamshire with more than 13 years of experience as a paramedic, said: “It is normal everyday for us to be called out to people who are hurt but do not need an ambulance.

“In fact a couple of paracetamol are what is needed.

“We also experience a lot of calls from people who are drunk and families of people who are drunk.

“We have been called by a woman who wanted us to reach for her TV remote control and a gentleman who wanted us to pour out some orange juice.

“Then you hear that a car around the corner has hit a child.

“We should be there but we are busy with someone who doesn’t need us.

“It is very frustrating that someone who doesn’t need it takes an ambulance needed by someone in an emergency, in a life-threatening situation.

“Please think before dialling for an ambulance.

“Do you really need one?

“Is it an emergency?

“If it is a minor illness visit your pharmacy or your GP.

“You are risking lives.”

Will Hancock, chief executive of the ambulance service, said:, “Everyone at South Central is committed to continually improving the service we provide to the community.

“Demand has doubled in the last 10 years and we need people to use the service appropriately.

“Overall the public is very supportive of the ambulance service.

“However, there are a number of people who do abuse it.

“The ambulance service is for emergencies and life-threatening situations only.

“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.”

Crews were called to:

l Change a light bulb.

l Stop uncontrolled bleeding, which turned out to be a popped spot.

l Respond to a broken fingernail ‘emergency’.

l Help a pet, not a human.

l Provide lifts home for drunk people who didn’t want to walk.

l Fix a broken TV remote control.

l Bring medication to save the patient having to queue at the doctors.