England

'Noisy' ambulance sirens and dead dog among 'inappropriate' 999 calls

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) call handler Image copyright SWASFT
Image caption The service said its staff were expecting to deal with more than 3,100 incidents a day between 22-26 December

A woman who complained ambulance sirens were "too noisy" and a man who wanted a lift are among the 999 calls made to South Western Ambulance Service.

The service said the type of "unnecessary calls" it had taken "in recent months" could "put a life at risk" over its busy festive period.

Others included a woman calling because her dog had died and a man who said his computer caused him to sweat.

The service has urged people to think before calling 999.

Among the "inappropriate" calls made to the service in recent weeks are:

  • A woman calling because her finger nail had come off
  • A man who called because he wanted a lift home
  • A man who said every time he switched the computer on in his bedroom it caused him to sweat
  • A caller who came home to find an injured seagull
  • A woman who wanted the ambulance sirens to be turned down because they hurt her ears

David Fletcher of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said: "The 999 service is only to be used for extremely urgent or life-threatening emergencies, and we urge people to use it wisely.

"During peak periods, like the festive season, every inappropriate call has the potential to put a life at risk and delay a response to a genuine emergency."

SWASFT said demand for the service was likely to peak between 22 - 26 December when its staff were expecting to deal with more than 3,100 incidents a day.

The service advised people with non-emergencies to call NHS 111, see a GP or a pharmacist, or visit an NHS walk-in centre.

SWASFT covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former Avon area.

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