Scandal of 999 call over dead squirrel
Anger as time wasters put people’s lives at risk
A drowning goldfish, a cat with a broken leg, a dead squirrel and a drunk wanting a taxi are some of the latest ‘emergency’ calls received by the region’s ambulance service so far this summer. New figures reveal that the East of England Ambulance Service received 1,144 hoax calls over the last two years which diverted time away from genuine emergencies.
One of those calls was a man ‘in the Peterborough area’ asking for an “animal ambulance” for a dead squirrel, while a woman from the city called the ambulance service about a cat with a broken leg.
Away from Cambridgeshire, there was even a drunk man outside an Essex nightclub who called asking for a taxi and a child who told a call handler in Chelmsford that their goldfish was“dr owning .”
Gary Morgan, head of emergency operations centres, said: “Just because 999 is an easy to remember number does not meanit is acceptable for people to misuse it or treat it as a telephone directory.
“Hoax and inappropriate 999 calls have the potential to dive rt attention away from real emergencies andwewillrefer people who misuse the service to our police colleagues to take action.
“We’d urge the public to remember that the ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain and breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, strokes, trauma, choking and severe allergic reactions.”
There were 190 hoax calls in Cambridgeshire fromApril 2014 to March 2016, placing it second among the six counties the ambulance service operates in.
Only Essex with 320 hoax calls had a higher number.
An audio of the call about the squirrel can be heard on the Peterborough Telegraph website - www. peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
For more information on when to call 999, visit http:// www.eastamb.nhs.uk/yourservice/campaigns/its-yourcall.htm.
An ambulance crew on standby at Peterborough City Hospital.