England

Ambulance service shows film of hoaxes after 999 misuse

An ambulance service has made a film of hoaxes to show how they divert resources from genuine emergencies.

People dialled 999 to ask for help with changing light bulbs, broken finger nails and to provide lifts home, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) said.

SCAS, which serves Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire, said staff responded to more than 1,200 hoax calls in the last year.

It said inappropriate calls are putting lives at risk.

Paramedic Simon Lukas said: "It is normal everyday for us to be called out to people who are hurt but do not need an ambulance - in fact a couple of paracetamol are what is needed."

He added: "We have been called by a woman who wanted us to reach for her TV remote control and a gentleman who wanted us to pour out some orange juice.

"Then you hear that a car around the corner has hit a child. We should be there, but we are busy with someone who doesn't need us."

Staff say they also experience a lot of calls from people who are drunk.

The service, which covers approximately 3,554 sq miles across the four counties, has recently been named trust of the year.

NHS figures have showed it to be the best performing ambulance trust in England in terms of response times.

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