Timewasters calling 999 for ambulances put 'lives at risk'

The Welsh Ambulance Service
Image caption The Welsh Ambulance Service has received more than 250,000 calls in total since August 2014

A complaint of athlete's foot and a man "feeling knackered" are among the time-wasting 999 calls the Welsh Ambulance Service has received.

The service's trust says it has received 19,151 "non-urgent" calls since August, 2014, with only 318 of these requiring an ambulance.

A woman from Rhyl, Denbighshire, also told 999 she had "pulled her side reaching for her charger".

The trust said such calls put more needy patients' lives "at risk".

The Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust said a patient in Pontypool, Torfaen, told a call handler they had a burning face because they "tried to eat a Scotch bonnet chilli pepper", in October 2014.

'Choose well'

A caller from Wrexham also complained in November, 2014, of an injury after they had "punched a punch machine".

The trust's head of clinical services, Richard Lee, said: "Calls of this type put people's lives at risk as the ambulance attending that patient is not available for a serious road accident, heart attack or stroke.

"Once again, we urge the public to 'choose well' to ensure busy emergency services are available for those who need them most urgently."

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