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Warning Over Hoax Calls

03 August 2012

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is urging people to be mindful of the consequences of making hoax emergency calls.

Hoax calls can put people’s lives in danger by diverting resources away from genuine emergencies. They also place additional strain on emergency services at a time when the Trust is dealing with a rising number of 999 calls.

In 2011-12 (April 2011 - March 2012) Yorkshire Ambulance Service received over 750,000 urgent and emergency calls, of which 2,274 were hoax calls. This equates to an average of 44 every week.

School holidays traditionally prove to be a time when the Trust experiences an increase in the number of hoax calls. One reason for this is that youngsters and teenagers can be tempted to make false calls over the holidays due to boredom. 

Ambulance call takers are taught not to question the integrity of callers so every call is treated seriously and follows the full procedure which can result in an ambulance response. While the Yorkshire region is well covered, resources are not unlimited and hoax calls can delay an ambulance getting to patients who have a serious or life-threatening injury or illness.

Dr David Macklin (pictured above), Associate Medical Director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “People don’t always consider what might happen as a result of their irresponsible actions and misuse of the 999 system could delay us being able to provide life-saving treatment to someone who is genuinely ill or injured.

In addition, hoax calls can cause frustration amongst our staff who believe they are dealing with a genuine emergency call.”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department