Inappropriate emergency calls put strain on paramedics

INAPPROPRIATE 999 calls are diverting Skegness’s ambulance service away from genuine medical emergencies, paramedics have warned.

More than a thousand calls made to East Midlands Ambulance Service are categorised as inappropriate, wasting vital paramedic time that could be spent attending potentially life-threatening call-outs.

Paramedic Mark Hall has noticed a significant increase in the number of inappropriate calls he and his colleagues are asked to attend in Skegness and throughout Lincolnshire.

He said: “Inappropriate calls are very demanding for us.

“I think it all stems from a cultural change - people expect to be sent an ambulance, even for minor problems.”

EMAS’s call centre staff now ask more detailed questions to gain a greater understanding of the caller’s medical condition and its severity so that non-emergency calls can be treated without paramedics attending.

However Mr Hall and his colleagues believe many callers tailor their answers to ensure an emergency response.

“The population is changing the way hey answer the questions asked - they know the right answers to make sure they get an ambulance and a quicker response,” he said.

Fellow paramedic stationed at Skegness Ambulance Station Val Cross believes part of the problem stems from a degradation of family support networks.

“A lot of it comes family breakdown - there used to be elderly relatives on hand who support young mothers but now hey are often on their own,” she said.

Despite the strains on the 
service caused by inappropriate calls, paramadics are keen to stress that every call is treated professionally.