September 28th, 2016

‘Emergency’ call over hurt feet prompts plea from ambulance chiefs

‘Emergency’ call over hurt feet prompts plea from ambulance chiefs ‘Emergency’ call over hurt feet prompts plea from ambulance chiefs

THINK carefully before dialing 999.

That is the plea from West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) after a woman in Stratford rang for an ambulance because her feet were sore.

The caller, who said she was on Waterside in the town, told the emergency dispatcher her feet were ‘burning’ and she could not walk the two miles back to her home.

She was told the ambulance would take her to hospital if there was a medical reason why she could not walk as opposed to taking her home, but the caller became angry and ended the call.

Emergency call dispatcher Jo Bird tweeted her frustrations with the call, saying: “Female aged 32 has just called 999 as her feet are hurting after being out shopping all day and wants a ride home.

“While I think we can all sympathise – especially if in heels – it is not an appropriate use of a life saving ambulance service.”

Earlier in the year, as part of its Appreciate Your Ambulance campaign the WMAS media team released audio clips of recordings of some nuisance calls to highlight the shocking examples of inappropriate calls they receive daily.

Among them were a group who were too drunk and simply needed a taxi, someone who had dropped a shampoo bottle on their foot, a thirsty caller looking for someone to bring him a glass of water and a host of other prank callers.

Someone even alerted the ambulance service when their children were scared of a hedgehog.

And following the latest incident, ambulance chiefs are once again stressing the importance of only calling 999 when there is a genuine emergency.

A WMAS spokesman said: “All 999 calls are received in good faith, so to receive hoax or inappropriate calls is extremely disappointing.

“These calls waste valuable time and resources that could have been used to save lives. If our staff are tied up dealing with a hoax they are clearly not available to help a patient in genuine need.

“We would ask anyone who has made a hoax call how they would feel if that call had meant their loved one did not receive the care they desperately needed and some harm had come to them – would they be able to live with the guilt?

“Please think carefully before dialing 999 – someone’s life could depend on it.”