People who call for an ambulance for non-life-threatening incidents, such as getting scratched or cutting themselves shaving, should be prosecuted.
That is the view of Siptu’s health organiser, Paul Bell, after paramedics revealed some of the non-emergency calls to which they have responded.
One woman reported that she could not stop bleeding. When the ambulance crew arrived, they discovered “she was scratched, after her cat and dog were fighting and she broke it up”.
An ambulance was dispatched after a caller said there was a 14-year-old in labour. On arrival, the crew found the family dog was in labour.
Other 999 calls that asked for an ambulance include:
“I have had crews in peak time responding to what turns out to be a cut from shaving,” Mr Bell said. “I believe people who make such calls should be prosecuted.
“Some people think they will be treated first if they go to hospital in an ambulance. That is not true, because the triage system works [in emergency departments] whatever way you arrive at them.”
Non-emergency call-outs “stretch resources and then the ambulance is not available for somebody else”, he added
The National Ambulance Service, said: “These calls can put unnecessary additional demand on emergency services resources.
“More importantly, non life-threatening calls can be time-consuming and may delay a genuine caller receiving timely medical assistance.”
Siptu believes that, just as in the UK, paramedics should be able to make a judgement call and not have to bring the patient to hospital by ambulance.
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