South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is asking the public to call 999 for emergencies and life-threatening situations only, after it was revealed the service received 1,235 hoax calls and many more inappropriate calls during 2011.

Inappropriate calls to 999 included requests to attend broken fingernails, change light bulbs, provide lifts home, fix broken TV remote controls and attend to pets. In response the ambulance service has launched a hard-hitting campaign film ‘999 South Central’ to show how lives are put at risk when 999 is called inappropriately. 

Will Hancock, CEO of SCAS, said: “Everyone at SCAS is committed to continually improving the service we provide to the community. Demand has doubled in the last ten years and we need people to use the service appropriately. “Overall the public is very supportive of the ambulance service. However, there are a number of people who do abuse it. Please think before you dial 999. The ambulance service is for emergencies and life threatening situations only. 

“For all non life-threatening health issues alternative methods of health care are available to you, such as your GP, NHS Direct, walk in centres and other out of hours health services.” There is one ambulance available per 33,000 people across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Berkshire. Each time an ambulance is used inappropriately it is not available to attend a life-threatening situation.

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