Hoax 999 Calls To Ambulance Crews

From broken finger nails to help changing a lightbulb - South Central Ambulance Service says it had more than 1200 hoax calls last year.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) - which covers Hampshire - is asking the public to call 999 for emergencies and life-threatening situations only, after it was revealed the service received 1,235 hoax calls and many more inappropriate calls during 2011.

Inappropriate calls to 999 included requests to attend broken fingernails, change light bulbs, provide lifts homes, fix broken TV remote controls and attend to pets.

In response the ambulance service has today launched a hard-hitting campaign film '999 South Central' to show how lives are put at risk when 999 is called inappropriately.

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

Paul Jeffries is a Hampshire area manager and a highly experienced paramedic working with the ambulance service for over 18 years. He says, "Inappropriate calls I have regularly experienced including responding to the emergency of a man in 'severe pain' and on arrival he wanted me to pass him some paracetamol from a table less than two metres away; people calling 999 because they want a lift to visit a relative in hospital; or people injured with say a broken finger, which is not life threatening, but they have no money to get to A&E."

"This misuse takes vital resources away from people in life-threatening situations. If you or someone from your family is in cardiac arrest you want to know that that emergency care is going to be with you as quickly as possible. However, we have been called miles away to pass someone paracetamol from a table."

Check out the YouTube video of the ambulance services campaign video - '999 South Central':