Woman trying to help rabbit among 999 calls to North West Ambulance Service

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RabbitImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
"We can't send ambulances to animals," said a North West Ambulance Service spokesman.

A woman who rang 999 after hitting a rabbit and someone who couldn't reach the toilet roll were among thousands of unnecessary calls to the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) this year.

More than a million people called for an ambulance in 2019, but over a third (37%) were for non-emergencies.

Other calls included a person who had a blister and one with a broken kettle.

The service said 999 was for emergencies only and urged people to use "common sense".

Ged Blezard, Director of Operations at NWAS said advice given by call handlers can often be the difference between life and death in a real crisis.

"We understand that people panic or need help for situations that are concerning to them, but reporting a broken kettle, or out of reach toilet paper... can stop us from saving the life of a person in a real emergency."

Graham Lawrenson, Emergency Medical Dispatcher at NWAS said: "I was on the phone to a woman who had hit a male whilst driving her car, leaving him unconscious.

"I was worried for both of them but kept calm, as I needed to give her instructions to help save his life. But I soon discovered that 'he' was in fact a rabbit.

"The contrast between how this call started and how it ended shows that some people still don't understand when to use the 999 emergency service.

"Unfortunately, we can't send NHS ambulances to animals."

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