PEOPLE are being urged to make sure they are a ‘lifesaver not a time waster’ ahead of the busiest time of the year for the ambulance service.
Bosses at West Midlands Ambulance Service are trying to fend off calls of ‘how do I charge my new mobile phone?’ or ‘what time do the supermarkets open on Boxing Day?’ as part of a new festive campaign.
Throughout the week, staff will be using social networking sites to reveal the different kinds of calls received by control room staff – from life-threatening to the absurd and ridiculous.
Assistant chief officer Daren Fradgley said: “We hope that this awareness will help the public to take a moment to make sure that they ‘choose well’ when they access the NHS.
“Not everyone who calls 999 needs an ambulance or to be taken to hospital. In fact, the percentage of those who are taken to hospital by us is continuing to fall.
“This is allowing us to concentrate our resources on treating those who are seriously ill or injured.
“We hope that by providing information and demonstrating the types of calls that we receive that people will only call us when they need us. By doing so, we will be better able to help the people who really need us.
“The reality is that genuinely life-threatening calls make up only around 10 per cent of our work which is why we need the public to make sure they allow us to concentrate on these calls, the ones where every second counts.
“Every one of the near 1,000,000 emergency calls that we will receive this year is dealt with so that we can identify the life-threatening ones quickly.
“Please stay calm while we ask you a series of questions – it won’t delay us providing the help you need.
“If you dial 999 for a problem which is not a genuine emergency, then you could be delaying our ambulances and rapid response vehicles getting to someone who is suffering from a life-threatening condition such as a heart attack, a stroke, an unconscious patient, someone with serious blood loss or a person choking.
“Ultimately, making a call about a less serious condition could put someone else’s life at risk. That is why we are asking if you are a lifesaver or a time waster.”
More information is available online at www.twitter.com/officialwmas