“Inappropriate” 999 calls on the rise in Wales
A man claimed to have stomach pains at a Cardiff pub dialled 999 so that he could get a lift home.
The tale is one of a string of time-wasting 999 calls the Welsh Ambulance Service has received in recent months. It has said such calls is putting pressure on emergency services.
Other included two men with bad hangovers, a woman with a minor scratch to her hand who claimed she had a serious injury and another who called for a Paramedic crew to rub ointment on his back.
The Welsh Ambulance Service has released details of the calls in a bid to make people aware they should only call 999 in a real emergency.
Dr Chris Jones, NHS Wales’ medical director, said: “We are seeing a growing number of inappropriate emergency calls to the ambulance service.
“A 999 call should only be made in the event of a serious medical emergency, such as when life is in immediate danger. All emergency health services are very busy and patients should only attend Emergency Departments (A&E) if they are very badly hurt or if they become very seriously ill.
“Patients have a role to play in helping ease this current pressure on emergency services by Choosing Well. This ensures patients will get the best treatment, and allows busy emergency NHS services to help the people who need them most.
“I’d urge people who need NHS care and are unaware of which service to access to consider using other services, such as NHS Direct Wales, by downloading the new, free Choose Well app for the iPhone, contacting GP out-of-hours services or visiting local pharmacies to self care at home.”
Some of the inappropriate calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service
- A woman dialled 999 after being bitten on the finger by a hamster.
- Two separate 999 calls by men with hangovers.
- Afternoon calls where patients have injured themselves the night before but didn’t feel it at the time as they were under the influence of alcohol. As the alcohol has worn off they found themselves in pain so dialled 999.
- A woman phoned 999 saying she had a bad hand wound and was bleeding badly. An ambulance crew arrived to find she’d had a minor scratch on the hand by her cat.
- A man had been to the GP in the morning and had been given ointment to rub on his back. He later phoned 999 and said he had a back problem. A crew turned up and he answered the door. Crew asked: “We thought you had a back problem?’. Man replied: “I have. I haven’t got anyone to rub this ointment on my back.”
- A crew responded to a member of the public who said he was ill with stomach pains at pub in the centre of Cardiff. The crew took him to University Hospital Wales only for him to jump out at A&E and say “thanks for the lift mate”. The man ran off never to be seen again.