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Six people a day make crank ambulance calls

28 Dec 2014

Jackson Carlaw MSP

The Scottish Ambulance Service receives six malicious calls every day, figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives have revealed.

They show, in the past three years, there have been 6102 phonecalls to the ambulance’s 999 number which were deemed “malicious”.

And of those, 2294 were only discovered as hoaxes when the ambulance actually turned up on the scene.

That means ambulances have to actually attend pranks calls twice a day across the country.

Last year alone, 1732 malicious calls were received, resulting in 793 ambulances embarking on fruitless journeys.

Scotland largest health board areas, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian, had the highest number of incidents.

And as the Scottish Ambulance Service commented on the response – obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information – it “often does not know if a call is malicious until a crew arrives on scene”.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said:

“These figures are absolutely despicable.

“No-one would be surprised if there were a handful of hoax calls from bored teenagers, but the sheer scale of this suggests a problem far more deep-rooted.

“It will be a huge headache for call-handlers and managers.

“But more acutely, twice a day ambulance vehicles are actually sent out on these jobs under blue light, only to find upon arrival it was all a prank.

“That’s not only a massive waste of resources, but it’s putting at risk those who genuinely need the urgent attention of an ambulance.

“We have to ensure stiff punishments are in place for those who are caught engaging in this loathsome practice, which would deter others from embarking on similar behaviour in future.”

Notes to editors:
Below are tables from the Scottish Ambulance Service’s FoI response to the Scottish Conservatives
 
Incidents where the call stopped reason = Malicious call
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Report Financial Year
Total Number of Incidents
Number of Incidents – Resource Allocated
Number of Incidents – Resource Mobilised
No. of incidents where resource arrived on scene
 
 
2011 – 2012
2,422
1,079
1,055
888
 
 
2012 – 2013
1,948
883
867
731
 
 
2013 – 2014
1,732
826
793
675
 
 
Sum:
6,102
2,982
2,715
2,294
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Incidents where the call stopped reason = Malicious call
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2011 – 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sub Division
Number of Incidents – Resource Allocated
Number of Incidents – Resource Mobilised
No. of incidents where resource arrived on scene
 
 
Argyll & Clyde
84
82
73
 
 
Ayrshire & Arran
83
83
72
 
 
Borders
11
10
6
 
 
Dumfries & Galloway
26
26
23
 
 
Fife
70
70
54
 
 
Forth Valley
48
48
32
 
 
Grampian
83
79
72
 
 
Greater Glasgow
200
196
174
 
 
Highland
43
40
36
 
 
Lanarkshire
135
134
117
 
 
Lothian
191
184
147
 
 
Northern Isles
3
3
3
 
 
Tayside
83
81
62
 
 
Western Isles
4
4
4
 
 
N/A
15
15
13
 
 
Sum:
1,079
1,055
888
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2012 – 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sub Division
Number of Incidents – Resource Allocated
Number of Incidents – Resource Mobilised
No. of incidents where resource arrived on scene
 
 
Argyll & Clyde
80
78
67
 
 
Ayrshire & Arran
81
80
72
 
 
Borders
11
10
7
 
 
Dumfries & Galloway
19
18
17
 
 
Fife
51
51
44
 
 
Forth Valley
34
34
21
 
 
Grampian
67
63
55
 
 
Greater Glasgow
190
189
175
 
 
Highland
37
37
33
 
 
Lanarkshire
111
111
99
 
 
Lothian
140
134
93
 
 
Northern Isles
3
3
3
 
 
Tayside
48
48
36
 
 
Western Isles
6
6
6
 
 
N/A
5
5
3
 
 
Sum:
883
867
731
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013 – 2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sub Division
Number of Incidents – Resource Allocated
Number of Incidents – Resource Mobilised
No. of incidents where resource arrived on scene
 
 
Argyll & Clyde
48
46
42
 
 
Ayrshire & Arran
79
75
70
 
 
Borders
12
12
11
 
 
Dumfries & Galloway
6
6
4
 
 
Fife
58
57
38
 
 
Forth Valley
36
33
26
 
 
Grampian
58
55
49
 
 
Greater Glasgow
222
209
193
 
 
Highland
24
24
21
 
 
Lanarkshire
84
82
69
 
 
Lothian
148
145
112
 
 
Northern Isles
2
2
2
 
 
Tayside
41
40
32
 
 
Western Isles
4
3
3
 
 
N/A
4
4
3
 
 
Sum:
826
793
675