Hoax calls for am­bu­lances nearly dou­bles

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - News - By Connor Boyd CBOYD@SUNDAYPOST.COM

Hoax calls to the Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice have al­most dou­bled in the past five years, new fig­ures show.

Ma­li­cious emer­gency calls rose by 84% – from 881 in 2012/13 to 1,622 in 2016/17.

The fig­ures, ob­tained through a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest by the Scot­tish Lib­eral Democrats, also show the num­ber of emer­gency in­ci­dents rose 11% in the same pe­riod to 570,354.

Party health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamil­ton warned that hoax calls to the am­bu­lance ser­vice risk lives.

He said: “Ser­vices are busier and busier. It is con­cern­ing to see that hoax calls have dou­bled in the same time frame.

“Any­one who ma­li­ciously calls for an am­bu­lance should be ashamed of them­selves.

“These calls are put­ting lives in dan­ger. An am­bu­lance that is di­verted to a hoax is one that is un­avail­able to save a life else­where.

“We all know the strains that our health staff are un­der and as such we need to en­sure that the Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice and other agen­cies have the re­sources they need to ed­u­cate peo­ple over the dan­gers that ma­li­cious calls pose.”

A Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice spokesman said: “Any­one who calls 999 with­out a gen­uine need is po­ten­tially put­ting lives at risk.”

He added ma­li­cious call­ers were re­ported to the po­lice where ap­pro­pri­ate.

Alex Cole-Hamil­ton

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