If it’s not se­ri­ous, don’t call

TRIPLE-0 ONLY FOR EMER­GENCY

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ben Pike Do you know of any­one who has made a triv­ial call? the­druitt

PUT down that phone if it’s only a cold.

That’s the mes­sage from paramedics who have de­clared war on peo­ple mak­ing triv­ial triple-0 calls for snif­fles, sore throats, grazed knees and hang­overs.

The NSW Am­bu­lance Ser­vice said the days of para­medic crews treat­ing mi­nor ail­ments are over, as it bat­tles to deal with an ex­tra 132 calls a day this win­ter from peo­ple with cold and flu symp­toms.

They are also des­per­ate to end call-outs for peo­ple with hang­overs, whose “emer­gency” can be treated with two Panadol tablets and a warm bed.

“A small pro­por­tion of peo­ple have a per­cep­tion that if you dial triple-0 an am­bu­lance is go­ing to come quickly,” NSW Am­bu­lance chief ex­ec­u­tive com­mis­sioner Ray Creen said.

“If you are in a lifethreat­en­ing sit­u­a­tion then of course the cav­alry will come over the hill, but if it’s a mi­nor ail­ment we would be look­ing to re­fer or treat you other ways.

“While we are deal­ing with your mi­nor ail­ment, some­one else’s life is prob­a­bly in the bal­ance be­cause we are not re­spond­ing to them,” he said.

Paramedics said re­cent call-outs had in­cluded treationg toothaches and pe­riod pain.

One pa­tient de­manded an am­bu­lance be­cause the an­tibi­otics they had taken four hours ago had not taken ef­fect.

Another scraped his foot on the dresser.

Am­bos ar­rived to find the man in his 20s walk­ing around with a very mi­nor in­jury, but “he still in­sisted on be­ing taken to hos­pi­tal”.

Com­mis­sioner Creen said the up­com­ing “Is Your Ur­gency an Emer­gency” cam­paign was aimed at ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple to not al­ways ex­pect an am­bu­lance.

“The online cam­paign isn’t de­signed to dis­cour­age peo­ple from call­ing triple-0,” he said.

He said more pa­tients could ex­pect to be handed over to Healthdi­rect, a phone ser­vice staffed by reg­is­tered nurses.

Other pa­tients could now or­gan­ise to have a doc­tor visit them at home.

This win­ter NSW Am­bu­lance has seen a 4 per cent in­crease in the 3300 calls it nor­mally gets a day, equat­ing to about 132 ex­tra calls daily. The cam­paign fol­lows law changes made June 1 which give State Gov­ern­ment debt col­lec­tors greater pow­ers when re­cov­er­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in un­paid am­bu­lance fees.

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