REQUESTS for lifts home and calls to change lightbulbs are just some of the ‘emergencies’ an ambulance trust has been called out to by people misusing the 999 service.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is urging people only to use the number for emergencies and life-threatening situations following a number of calls abusing the service.
Inappropriate 999 calls have also been made by people with broken fingernails and complaints about noisy neighbours.
Others have included requests to fix broken TV remote controls or attend to sick pets.
Some people even dialled 999 because the number is free of charge and the caller said they had no credit on their mobile phone to enable them to call their GP.
Will Hancock, chief executive of Scas, said: ‘Everyone at Scas is committed to continually improving the service we provide to the community and we would urge members of the public to help us and only use 999 when it is absolutely necessary.’
‘Overall the public are very supportive of the ambulance service.
‘However, there are a number of people who do abuse it.’
He added: ‘Demand on the ambulance services has doubled in the last 10 years and we need people to use the service appropriately to ensure that the most acutely unwell patients receive treatment as soon as possible.’
A Scas spokeswoman said: ‘Thankfully calls such as this are few and far between and in most instances we are able to establish those inappropriate calls before we arrive.
‘This enables us to ensure that resources are used for serious and life threatening emergencies only.’
Anyone suffering from an injury or illness which is non-life threatening is urged to seek another form of care where appropriate.
In an emergency or life-threatening situation always dial 999.
Otherwise people should visit their local pharmacy, contact the GP or out-of-hours GP or call 111.
Alternatively visit a local walk-in centre or minor injuries unit or visit NHS Choices at nhs.uk to check your symptoms and find your nearest service.