Demanding an operation for a boil on their bottom, complaining of a splinter, and asking for a lift home – these are some of the most whacky and bizarre reasons people in the North West have dialled 999 in the last year.
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has revealed that in 2020, callers have also phoned the emergency number for a stubbed toe, because a bandage on their head slipped slightly, because they were unable to get a dentist appointment, and even someone nursing a hangover.
In addition, one patient already in hospital called 999 wanting medical advice.
Director of operations, Ged Blezard said: “We understand that people do need help and panic when something is worrying them, however, this is a busy time for the ambulance service and as the pandemic continues and weather gets colder we need the public to use common sense so that we can help people who need us most.
“Phoning 999 doesn’t automatically get you an ambulance.
“All calls are handled by experienced staff and triaged so you’ll receive the right care from the right service.
“The ambulance service is there for you when you need us the most, so please help us to help you by only dialling 999 in emergencies and life-threatening situations.”
NWAS is asking people to think before dialling 999 and consider whether they could find appropriate treatment elsewhere, such as NHS 111 online, their GP or pharmacist.
With more than one million 999 calls received every year, anytime someone rings needlessly, it risks someone else in real need having to wait longer.
Examples of emergencies include cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, confused state, fits that aren’t stopping, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, severe allergic reactions, burns and scalds, suspected stroke, suspected heart attack, fall from height, serious head injury, stabbing, shooting and serious road traffic incidents.
For medical help when it is not an emergency, use NHS 111 Online, contact your GP or speak to your local pharmacist.