30,000 non-urgent 999 calls made in one year

Published date: 27 July 2014 |
Published by: Free Press Reporter
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A ST ASAPH woman who was intoxicated and needed a lift home was one of more than 30,000 non-urgent 999 calls in the last 12 months.

The Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding people not to call 999 unless it is a genuine emergency after the service took 31,219 non-urgent calls, only 670 of which required an ambulance and just three of which resulted in a patient being taken to hospital.

They include a woman from Bangor who dialled 999 to ask if the green part of a potato was poisonous and a caller whose daughter had drunk water from a dog’s bowl.

Calls also included a woman from Llandudno who dropped a television remote and needed someone to pick it up and a man from Penmaenmawr with blisters on his foot.

Richard Lee, head of clinical services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We don’t want to deter anyone from calling 999, but we want them to think twice before they do.

"Sadly, we still receive a significant number of inappropriate calls that do not require an ambulance response.

“When people misuse the service it means our precious time is being taken away from someone who really does need our help. During peak periods, like the summer, every non-essential call has the potential to delay a response to a serious emergency.

“Please remember only to dial 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk - let’s keep our emergency ambulances for emergencies.”

The trust is urging people to choose the appropriate service for their healthcare needs so that call takers and ambulance crews are not tied up unnecessarily when a call to a genuine emergency comes in.

Mr Lee added: "The emergency healthcare system across Wales is facing unparalleled pressure

“We are asking the public to support NHS Wales’ ‘Choose Well’ campaign to ensure busy emergency services are available for those who need them most urgently.

“If you think you need medical attention, but not necessarily in the form of an ambulance, there are a host of other options you can consider.”

For advice and treatment of most illnesses, visit your GP, or contact NHS Direct Wales, the health advice and information service available 24 hours a day, every day, if you are feeling unwell and are unsure what to do.

NHS Direct Wales is available on 0845 46 47.

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