999 crews called to sore throat

TOOTHACHES, coughs, colds and sore throats are just some of the “problems” people have called 999 to ask for help for, it has been revealed.

James Hore

TOOTHACHES, coughs, colds and sore throats are just some of the “problems” people have called 999 to ask for help for, it has been revealed.

Ambulance bosses in Essex revealed the shocking misuse of the service and pleaded for people with slight ailments not to waste their time.

There has been an increasing number of people calling 999 when they only have minor problems or illnesses.

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Now the East of England Ambulance Service has appealed for the public to only call for help when there is a life-threatening or serious emergency.

Last month crews attended 6,446 calls where the patient was cared for at home and not taken to hospital - an increase of about 600 calls more than September and 800 more than for the same time last year.

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The warning is particularly pertinent during the colder weather because it tends to lead to more calls being made.

Neil Storey from the ambulance service said: “We don't for one moment want to put off people with genuine emergencies from calling us, but with calls seemingly on a never-ending upward curve we need people to think about whether they really need an ambulance before making the call.

“This is particularly relevant over the winter, when the number of calls peaks during the type of cold weather currently being forecast.

“Our crews and responders are striving to meet the most challenging ambulance response times in the world, and we need public support to help us reach those most in need of our help as quickly as possible.

“The emergency ambulance service and hospital A&E departments are there to deal with urgent medical emergencies and life threatening problems and we need to keep those services available for the people who really need them.”

Minor ailments which the ambulance service has been called to include -

n Coughs, colds, sore throats, and earaches.

n Rashes, sunburn and bites.

n Toothache.

n Constipation and diarrhoea

The service recommends for people who are unwell with the kind of symptoms you would normally visit your doctor for should either contact their GP out-of-hours service or ring NHS Direct for advice 0845 4647.

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