AMBULANCE Crews and Hospital Emergency[.]; DAFT EMERGENCY CALLS STRAIN ON NHS
Byline: TOM BODDEN
AMBULANCE crews and hospital emergency department staff in Wales are being hampered by a string of daft 999 calls for help, a top doctor warned yesterday.
The NHS is under increasing and sustained pressure from 999 calls or 'victims' arriving at hospital A&E with minor complaints.
The log of time-wasting calls includes a woman who dialled 999 after being bitten on the finger by a hamster.
Two separate afternoon calls came from men with hangovers after a night out. The patients didn't feel the pain of an injury until the effects of the booze wore off.
Another woman called for help claiming she had a 'hand wound and was bleeding badly'. When paramedics arrived at her home she had a minor scratch from her cat and was 'worried it might get infected'.
Another male patient called emergency services 'with a back problem' and then asked the ambulance crew sent out to rub some ointment on his back.
One crew responded to a man who said he was ill with stomach pains at a pub in the centre of Cardiff. When they took him to the University Hospital of Wales, the hoaxer jumped out at A&E and said: 'thanks for the lift mate' and ran off.
Health officials fear that hoaxers are tying up the time of 999 staff and delaying care for real emergencies where lives are at risk Acting chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones warned that a combination of increased 999 call volumes and a rise in attendances at emergency departments has caused increased pressure over the past few weeks.
Dr Jones said that not everyone attending emergency departments or calling 999 are real emergencies: "We are seeing a growing number of inappropriate emergency calls to the Ambulance service. …