LISTEN: Northamptonshire's 999 call handlers reveal most inappropriate 'emergencies'

Emergency call handlers say inappropriate 999 calls stop them from helping people with real emergencies.
Emergency call handlers say inappropriate 999 calls stop them from helping people with real emergencies.

Broken eggs, a dead fox and someone who wanted breakfast made for them are some of the inappropriate 999 calls Northamptonshire's emergency call handlers have taken in the last six months.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) answer over 2,500 calls every day from people needing emergency medical assistance for cardiac arrests, strokes, breathing difficulties and serious injuries.

However, some of the 999 calls received are not for emergency situations and EMAS says these stop call handlers from helping people in a real emergency.

Recent inappropriate calls have included someone with a broken toenail, someone who wanted a taxi home and a patient waiting to be seen at a GP surgery, but who didn’t want to wait the 30 minutes for their appointment.

Simon Tomlinson, general manager for EMAS' Emergency Operations Centres said:: “When you call 999 because someone is unconscious, not breathing, having chest pains or has the symptoms of a stroke, you are making the right call.

“Our emergency call handlers are trained to deliver life-saving instructions over the phone and we will get help to you as quickly as possible.

“Every 999 call is assessed so that the right help is provided to the right people as quickly as possible.

“You could receive the right treatment for you more quickly by contacting an alternative NHS service, such as your local pharmacy or NHS111, particularly if your call is not a serious emergency.

“Please help us to make sure we can reach the people who need us the most.”

EMAS received a total of 59,349 999 calls in December 2017. Only a small proportion of these were inappropriate calls.

10 inappropriate 999 calls received by EMAS
1.Person pouring milk over their body – as part of an art installation
2.Wants sleeping tablets
4.Dead fox
5.At GP surgery, doesn’t want to wait 30 mins for appointment
6.Someone had stolen their drinking glass
7.Wants bandage changing
8.Wants someone to make them breakfast
9.Wants a taxi
10.Big toenail has come off


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