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Woman dialled 999 after stubbing her toe
10:00am Sunday 20th January 2013 in News
SOME of the most “ridiculous reasons” for patients dialling 999 for emergency health services have been revealed by the NHS.
Examples include a woman who called an ambulance because of a stubbed toe and a man who had run out of medication.
The incidents are being highlighted by NHS Merseyside to encourage people to use health services more sensibly.
Health chiefs are now urging residents to remember that the 999 service should only be used for life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems and serious accidents.
Calls to emergency services in the north west numbered more than 1,159,887 during 2012, which is an increase of 72,444 calls on the previous year.
It is believed many were for reasons which could have been resolved by using alternative, non-emergency services.
GP Dr John Hussey said: “We are appealing to patients to use the NHS more responsibly to help ensure they are kept free for those who really need them.
“When people are taking up the time of hospital and ambulance staff with minor issues which could be dealt with closer to home, people with life-threatening illnesses are not able to be seen as quickly.
“It is vital to remember that the ambulance service and A & E should not be used as an alternative to your GP, if your surgery is closed.”
Patients who require medical assistance outside of normal surgery hours this winter are advised there are a wide range of alternative health services available.
They include: GP out-of-hours services, minor injury units with x-ray facilities, walk-in centres and extended hours pharmacists.
If patients are unsure which service they should be using, they can contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 in the first instance.