LISTEN: To hoax call that cost ambulance service £2,465 and put lives at risk

A hoax 999 call cost East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) almost £2,500 on Friday, and saw an ambulance being diverted from a real emergency.

Wednesday, 12th April 2017, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:32 pm

The service is now asking parents to talk to their children about not making hoax 999 calls.

Friday’s call was made by a child reporting that a young girl had been run over by a car and had died.

The air ambulance, a paramedic in a fast response vehicle and two crewed ambulances were sent to the scene to treat the patient, but when they arrived there was no-one at the address and it became clear the call had been a hoax.

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One of the crewed ambulances was diverted from a real call where someone was experiencing chest pains as the hoax call was believed to be so serious, although another ambulance was sent to this patient moments later.

As the air ambulance costs £1,700 per incident and each ambulance costs £255 per incident, this one hoax call cost £2,465.

On Monday, the service received a further three hoax calls from children.

Simon Tomlinson, General Manager for our Emergency Operations Centres, said hoax calls can put lives at risk and people should only dial 999 in the event of a serious emergency.

He added: “Hoax calls can put people’s lives in danger by diverting resources away from genuine emergencies and can delay responses attending serious or life threatening emergency calls.

“They also place additional strain on emergency services at a time when the Trust is dealing with a rising number of 999 calls.

“Think - your life, or the life of someone you care about, could be put at risk by making a hoax call.”

Ewan Hinde, the Emergency Call Handler who took the hoax call, explained that it was only his third day in the job and that it was very disheartening to hear people misusing the service.

He said: “It’s a complete misuse of the service we provide and it’s very disheartening and upsetting.”

Police have been informed about this hoax call, and take such calls very seriously.