Woman, 28, fined just £75 after making 1,300 hoax calls to the ambulance service

March 31, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

A 28-year-old woman has been fined just £75 after she admitted making a staggering 1,300 hoax 999 calls to the ambulance service.

Stacey White persistently made drunken calls to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) despite not needing emergency medical treatment.

She even carried out a sustained attack on one paramedic who turned up at her home after a hoax call-out on October 17, 2013.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard she made one call to paramedics just to ask them to book her a doctor’s appointment.

White, of Top Vally, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to three counts of persistent nuisance calls and one count of assault on Friday.

JP’s sentenced her to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months and she was also ordered to pay £75 compensation and £170 court costs.

The court heard White called for emergency medics more than 500 times during one six-month period and a total of 1,300 times between 2011 and 2014.

Her reasons ranged from asking paramedics to book her a doctor’s appointment to complaining about a three-week-old leg injury.

The service said that in all the calls White was under the influence of alcohol and in nearly all of them she was abusive to control room staff and paramedics.

Ambulance chiefs are appealing for people to only dial 999 when they absolutely need to, with each call-out costing the taxpayer up to #200.

Dave Winter, EMAS assistant operations director, said: “It’s a real strain. They are often under the influence of alcohol and sometimes it’s just for the sake of it.

“It’s a pressure. It takes crews from life-threatening calls.

“For every ambulance that’s called out there’s a cost associated and we’re having to employ people to manage these cases.

“It’s a vast cost. We are trying to do more but the workload is growing.”

Another nuisance caller, a 67-year-old woman from Notts., was handed a 12-month community order with supervision after making more than 350 emergency calls over the past three years.

The patient was under the influence of alcohol and abusive to ambulance crews.
Martin Gawith, chairman of Healthwatch Nottingham, which represents patients in the city, said: “We support the ambulance service in trying to discourage people from abusing emergency services.

“It’s a vital service and any waste of resources means the ambulance is taken away from real emergency calls.”

In February, 159 people called EMAS more than six times, leading to the service’s high volume service user team investigating the nature of the calls.

When regular callers are identified, the team tries to understand their reasons for calling by speaking to GPs and community nurses.

Letters are sent to the callers and, if all else fails, court action can be taken.

In Derbyshire, a 60-year-old man called EMAS 2,000 times since 2009, including asking for help to fix his television and program his computer.

He was generally under the influence of alcohol and abusive. The man has now been given an antisocial behaviour order ordering him not to call except in a genuine emergency.

Lee Goddard, EMAS representative for the Unison union, said the problem is frustrating for front-line staff.

He said: “It’s taking the resources from the patients that need them.

“Think about what you are doing and if it really needs an ambulance. If not there are other resources such as walk-in centres and your GP.”

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