Lost TV remote, splinter and no heating: Inappropriate 999 calls made in last month

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Operators dealing with ambulance calls in Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas have in the last month dealt with shockingly inappropriate complaints from a person checking it was Monday to not being able to find the TV remote.

A lost credit card, a splinter, and someone who wanted a lift to see his friend in London are some of the other inappropriate 999 calls emergency call handlers at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) have dealt with during April.

Now, the ambulance service are urging people to take a moment to stop and think: ‘Am I making the right 999 call?’

EMAS handle over 2,000 999 calls a day, many from people requiring emergency medical assistance for chest pain, strokes, breathing difficulties and cardiac arrests.

Sadly, some of the 999 calls received are not for emergency situations.

Calls also included:

  • Man asked for ambulance to give him a lift to London to see his friend
  • Someone called to check it was Monday
  • Heating not working and asking for a plumber to be sent out
  • Splinter in finger
  • Lost credit card and wanted to speak to her bank
  • Cannot get doctor’s appointment so can we send an ambulance
  • Toothache
  • Wanted to know where the nearest chemist is
  • No phone credit and wants to be put through to QMC
  • Cannot find TV remote to switch off TV

Simon Tomlinson, General Manager for our Emergency Operations Centres said: “When you call 999 because someone is unconscious, not breathing, having chest pains or has the symptoms of a stroke, you are making the right call.

“If you require information such as for a plumbing service, local chemist or your bank, you will receive the support you want more quickly if you contact them directly.

“Asking for a lift to London is not the right 999 call, someone in cardiac arrest is.

“Every 999 call is assessed so that the right help is provided to the right people, so you could receive the right treatment for you more quickly by contacting an alternative NHS service particularly if your call is not a serious emergency.”

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