Broken toe nail among 999 calls

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A rat bite, a broken toenail and a mother who wanted an escort home are among the latest ‘emergency’ calls received by the region’s ambulance service.

New figures, released on Friday, reveal the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received 312 hoax calls between April and December last year, diverting time away from genuine emergencies.

They included a man who was bitten by a rat the day before and was advised to go to his GP, a man who had broken his toe nail and a woman who wanted an escort home so she could breastfeed because there was too much traffic.

People in Norfolk were responsible for making 46 hoax calls while 35 came from Suffolk.

Gary Morgan, deputy director of service delivery for emergency operations centres (EOC), said: “It is extremely disappointing that people continue to call 999 for inappropriate reasons as these 999 calls have the potential to divert attention away from real emergencies.

“We’d urge the public to remember that the ambulance service is for emergencies such as cardiac arrests, patients with chest pain and breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, strokes, trauma, choking and severe allergic reactions.

“Please consider the use of other services such as your local pharmacy, GP or by calling 111 if it isn’t an emergency.”

Last year the EEAST revealed it had received 1,144 hoax calls from April 2014 to March 2016, 174 from Norfolk and 153 from Suffolk.

Highlighting the calls is part of its ‘It’s Your Call’ campaign which aims to encourage people to think twice before calling 999.