Ambulance please - I want a cup of tea.Byline: Tariq Tahir
MISUSE of Merseyside's ambulances - including a woman who asked for a lift from the supermarket - is on the increase.
As the Government yesterday announced a crackdown on people misusing ambulances and making hoax Hoax
Balloon Hoax, The
news story in 1844, reporting the transatlantic crossing of a balloon with eight passengers. [Am. Lit.: The Balloon Hoax in Poe]
missing link turned out to be orangutan. [Br. Hist. calls, it emerged there is a worrying trend of people making bizarre requests for ambulances.
Figures from the Department of Health show that as many as four out of every 10 calls to the ambulance service could be unnecessary.
In the last fortnight fort·night
A period of 14 days; two weeks.
[Middle English fourtenight, alteration of fourtene night, fourteen nights : Old English f , Mersey Regional Ambulance has received calls from a man asking for a crew to buy cigarettes and a woman who wanted a cup of tea made.
Another woman dialled 999 from the supermarket to ask for an ambulance to take her home, complaining she could not walk after a fall two days earlier.
The woman had taken a taxi to the store but did not want to pay for the return journey.
Other similar incidents have included a woman who wanted to be put to bed and a man who had fallen three days earlier.
Mersey Regional Ambulance have joined with the Government in making a plea to the public not to tie up the live-saving crews' precious time with these requests.
Nigel Wylie, director of operations and logistics, said: ``I would say year on year inappropriate use of the ambulance service has increased to the extent that we've go to do something about it.''
Mr Wylie urged people to call NHS Direct NHS Direct is the name of a 24 hour, confidential telephone, online and interactive digital TV health advice and information service provided by the National Health Service in England and Wales. The service is provided by the NHS Direct Trust. and visit their doctor or pharmacy before they consider picking up the phone to the emergency services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services' .
He said the service ignored some calls but would often err on the side of caution just in case someone had a problem they might be unaware of.
But even when a request is refused, an ambulance controller's time is tied up trying to find someone else to deal with the problem.
He added: ``The last thing we want to do is to discourage people from using the ambulance service. But what we are calling for is people to think before they call and ask themselves if this is really necessary.''
Junior Health Minister David Lammy For the Scottish Member of Parliament from Ayrshire, see .
David Lindon Lammy (born July 19, 1972) is a British politician and the Member of Parliament for Tottenham. said abusing the ambulance service was putting patients' lives at risk.
Opinion - Page 4