999 call for a broken toe nail is slammed

A rat bite, a broken toe nail and a woman who wanted an escort home are just the latest '˜emergency' calls received by the region's ambulance service.

New figures released last week reveal that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received 312 hoax calls between April and December last year, including 43 from Bedfordshire. This is in addition a number of other calls into the Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) where alternatives to an emergency ambulance would be more appropriate.

As part of the It’s Your Call campaign and EOC takeover week, the service is highlighting calls like these to make people think twice about calling 999:

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These include a woman who needed an escort home to breastfeed after saying there was too much traffic and a man who was bitten by a rat the day before. He was advised to go to his GP.

A man also called saying he had broken his toe nail.

Gary Morgan, Deputy Director of Service Delivery (EOC), said: “It is extremely disappointing that people continue to call 999 for inappropriate reasons as these 999 calls have the potential to divert attention away from real emergencies.

“We’d urge the public to remember that the ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain and breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, strokes, trauma, choking and severe allergic reactions. Please consider the use of other services such as your local pharmacy, GP or by calling 111 if it isn’t an emergency”.

The Trust launched It’s Your Call campaign two years ago, which aims to inform people and educate others on how 999 calls are handled and prioritised so that in the event of a medical problem, they feel better equipped to know what to do. For more information, visit http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/your-service/campaigns/its-your-call.htm

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