“I’ve dropped my burger” and “I don’t get paid until tomorrow” - Ambulance Trust reveals inappropriate emergency calls

An East of England Ambulance Service call centre
An East of England Ambulance Service call centre

Small shoes, a lack of money and the dropping of a burger are some of the “emergency” calls received by the East of England Ambulance Service this year.

The Service has revealed eight inappropriate calls it has received so far in 2015, including one from a Peterborough man who said: “My feet hurt after wearing too small shoes.”

Other inappropriate calls included:

. “Is it okay for a little squirrel to die?” - two ambulance crews had been dispatched until it was established that the “someone” was a squirrel.

. “I’ve gone out shopping and locked myself out of my house.”

. “My dog is vomiting blood,” - a woman in Wisbech is advised to phone a vets.

We would strongly urge people who think it is funny to make a prank call to stop and think about the potential consequences.

Gary Morgan

. “I’ve eaten too much take-away food.”

. “I’ve dropped my burger and it is bleeding.”

. “I have been dieting and feel lethargic.”

. “I need to go to hospital and I don’t get paid until tomorrow.”

Listen to what happened when a call handler called back a man who reported a hit and run. The victim was a squirrel.

The Service receives on average around 2,500 calls a day.

Bosses from the Service are advising the public that inappropriate or prank calls could divert ambulance resources from genuine emergencies such as cardiac arrests, strokes and patients with breathing difficulties.

Over the last two years, the Service has received 1,248 hoax calls and front-line crews have attended almost half of those, believing them to be genuine emergencies, according to new figures.

Gary Morgan, regional head of emergency operations centres, said: “We’re an emergency service and our front-line staff are trained to save lives.

“However, sadly, some of the calls we receive are not even medical-related and we will refer hoax calls to the police.

“We prioritise all life-threatening calls to get the quickest possible response.

“However, that response can be affected if our call handlers and front-line staff are dealing with inappropriate 999 calls.

“We would strongly urge people who think it is funny to make a prank call to stop and think about the potential consequences.”

The Service is launching a new video behind the scenes of one of its emergency operation centres to show people how 999 calls are answered and prioritised and what patients can do to help.

For more information on making the right call, visit http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/the-right-call.htm.