Don’t waste paramedics’ time with stupid 999 call-outs

Tony Newsham
Tony Newsham

A NORTH West Ambulance Service emergency call handler is urging the public to think before they dial 999 over the summer bank holiday after a woman asked paramedics to help tidy her kitchen.

Other inappropriate cases revealed by NWAS included a man who called 999 because his toe nail had changed colour, a woman who called because she had a cotton bud stuck in her ear and a man who called because he had suffered a bite on his foot.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Tony Newsham, who answers 999 calls for NWAS, is asking the public to think carefully before phoning 999 this weekend. He said: “A bank holiday is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your family and friends, but for the ambulance service it’s a holiday where we see a large increase in the number of calls to 999.

“We tend to see an increase in calls from people who don’t know where to seek alternative medical care when their GP practice is closed, with conditions such as sore throats and aches and pains. These are calls that should not be made to an emergency number and we would like the public to help keep our services free for patients who are seriously ill with life threatening conditions.

“People often think calling 999 will help them get seen quicker – but that isn’t the case. A well-stocked medicine cabinet, a visit to a pharmacist or a call to NHS 111 are often much better options for patients with conditions that aren’t serious. It’s vital our services are kept free for the most urgent calls in order for us to prioritise patients with life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks, cardiac arrests, stokes and breathing problems.”