Stubbed toes to a broken kettle among 999 calls to North West Ambulance Service

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The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has created a video highlighting the thousands of unnecessary calls they have received this year.


In the last year, NWAS has received more than one million 999 calls, but over a third of these were not for emergency situations.

37% of 999 calls were for patients who could have potentially been treated at an urgent care centre or by a GP, pharmacist or at home with a few days’ rest.

Over the last decade the number of calls handled by 999 operators has increased year-on-year.

For the festive season, which is typically the busiest time of the year for the service, NWAS has created a video highlighting some of the weird, wonderful and ridiculous calls they've received over the past twelve months.

Ged Blezard, Director of Operations at NWAS, said: "Our emergency call handlers are the heart of the ambulance service and their advice and guidance over the phone can often be the difference between life and death.

NWAS has created a video highlighting some of the weird calls they'vereceived over the past twelve months. (Credit: North West Ambulance Service)

NWAS has created a video highlighting some of the weird calls they'vereceived over the past twelve months. (Credit: North West Ambulance Service)

"We have created this video, which includes some of the most ridiculous calls made to our emergency number, to make people think about how these types of calls can affect the service and the situations in which they should dial 999."

"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, which are both real calls featured in the video, can stop us from saving the life of a person in a real emergency."

This year alone NWAS has received calls relating to a stubbed toe, an adult with head lice and a patient with a blister.

They have also had several animal related calls, including a dog that had been attacked and a cat that had been run over.

Graham Lawrenson, Emergency Medical Dispatcher at NWAS said: "My plea to people is only to call the ambulance service when someone is seriously ill or injured and you think they could die, otherwise your call could be blocking the line for a real emergency."

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Examples of genuine emergencies include cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, severe allergic reactions, burns and scalds, suspected stroke and suspected heart attacks.

The NWAS also can’t send NHS ambulances to animals.

To report cruelty, neglect or an animal in distress, call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

For medical help when it is not an emergency, go to 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111