Scotland

Scottish ambulance crews attend to 11 hoaxes a week

scottish ambulance

Ambulance crews attended more than 11 hoax calls a week this year, latest figures have shown.

A total of 1,318 prank 999 calls were made to the Scottish Ambulance Service in 2015, an increase of 144 from the previous year.

Of those, crews attended on 564 occasions before realising the call was a hoax - up 67 on the previous 12 months.

There were 183 incidents in Glasgow, 87 in the Lothians and 64 in Lanarkshire.

The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the data through a Freedom of Information request, have called for tougher action to be taken on prank callers.

Strain on resources

The party's transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "When the ambulance service receives a nuisance call, it has very little choice but to attend the scene.

"It must be hugely frustrating for workers, particularly at busy times when they could be attending genuine emergencies.

"It's quite an astounding strain on resources not only for call-handlers to put up with these prank calls, but for crews and vehicles to attend these cases 11 times a week."

He added: "We need to get tough on those who think it's acceptable to make a prank 999 call, even if they think they're just doing it for a joke.

"That way, people considering this kind of behaviour in future would perhaps think again before embarking on such moronic action."

'Genuine need'

The Scottish Ambulance Service said anyone who calls 999 without a genuine need is potentially putting lives at risk.

A spokesman said: "When appropriate, malicious or nuisance callers are reported to the police.

"However, in many cases the call is the result of a mental-health issue rather than malice and the patient may still need help.

"In these cases, the relevant agencies are advised so that appropriate care can be provided."

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