Hoax calls ‘putting lives at risk’ across Dundee and Tayside

The A&E entrance at Ninewells

More than 59 hours of crucial time was wasted by paramedics attending hoax calls in the last three years.

New figures show that 200 hoax calls were made to the Scottish Ambulance Service in Tayside between 2014 and 2017.

Among the “incidents” medics were called out to deal with were overdoses, stab and gun wounds and psychiatric issues.

The majority of calls each year were to attend an unknown problem.

In the year 2014/15, 54 calls which viewed as malicious were made to the ambulance service.

That resulted in 64 crews being mobilised when their services could have been used elsewhere.

Malicious calls rose to 70 in 2015/16, with 84 resources being mobilised.

A total of 18 hours and 42 minutes was wasted during this period.

In 2016/17, 66 resources were mobilised in response to 53 hoax calls.

A further 27 calls have already been recorded for 2017/18 up until October, with 33 resources being mobilised.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “Anyone who calls 999 without a genuine need is potentially putting lives at risk by tying up valuable resources that could be needed to respond to a life-threatening call.

“When appropriate, malicious or nuisance callers are reported to the police.

“However, in many cases the call is a result of a social issue rather than malice and the patient may still need assistance.

“In these cases, the relevant agencies are advised so that appropriate care can be provided.”

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison MSP said: “We condemn hoax calls.

“These are not victimless pranks and they can potentially distract vital resources and attention away from those who are in life-threatening situations.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service has been clear that when appropriate, malicious or nuisance callers are reported to police who will investigate and act accordingly.”