999 campaign honoured for effectiveness

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A CAMPAIGN to stop people calling 999 for anything other than an emergency has won an award.

South Central Ambulance Service’s 999 Misuse Costs Lives campaign has been named gold winner of the new Healthcare category at the 2012 Wessex and Channel Islands Chartered Institute of Public Relations PRide Awards.

The campaign was launched in January in response to SCAS receiving 1,235 hoax calls and many more inappropriate calls during 2011.

It is designed to raise awareness of appropriate use of the ambulance service, to encourage people to contact the service appropriately and to reduce inappropriate demand on, and misuse of the ambulance service.

Its YouTube video has attracted 70,000 hits.

Gillian Hodgetts, SCAS’ head of communications and PR said: ‘Since its launch, SCAS’ 999 Misuse Costs Lives’ campaign has succeeded in reducing inappropriate calls by 13 per cent and in freeing up vital ambulance resources to be able to quickly respond to those suffering genuine life-threatening injury and illness across the four counties we serve.’

Jane Wilson, CIPR chief executive, said the awards celebrate the best PR and communications campaigns and teams.