Retired NHS worker costs ambulance service £26k with 1,000 'nuisance' calls
A 72-year-old retired NHS worker could be given a criminal behaviour order after making 1,000 calls to the ambulance service in a year - costing the NHS more than £26,000.
Linda Perren, of Hempnall, was issued with a community protection notice (CPN) forbidding her from contacting her GP, 999, 101, 111 or Medicom, unless in the event of an emergency.
Between December 8 and 21 of last year, Perren breached the CPN 10 times, with multiple calls to the 111 service, Medicom, the ambulance, and police.
At Norwich Magistrates Court on Tuesday she admitted each breach and was fined £250 - deemed as time served in custody.
The court did not have time to consider a full criminal behaviour order, and magistrates declined to grant an interim order.
Prosecutor Nicola Pope told the court: “This all goes back to 2017 when a number of efforts have been made to help the defendant stop contacting GPs, calling 999, and a number of other service providers who have been keeping record of the number of calls made.
“Just for the ambulance service between September 2017 and September 2018 nearly 1,000 calls were made resulting in 44 call-outs and a cost to the NHS in excess of £26,000 just for this one patient.
“A number of efforts have been made and arrangements put in place - all have not been complied with.
“There should have been a full contested hearing and there should have been enough court time to hear that application.”
Richard Mann, appearing for Perrin, said hers was a “difficult case”.
He asked no interim CBO was made due to the potential jail sentence if breached.
“A CBO is very serious for the person who has it in place and any breach of it could end up with them receiving a jail sentence and that could be substantial,” he said.
“She has no previous convictions and has worked in the NHS all her life. She suffers from a personality disorder and acute anxiety.
“The difficult question for her it - what is an emergency? It is said she is a nuisance to emergency services, but a lot of the time she thinks it is an emergency.”
Perren, of Roberts Close, was ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.
She will return to Norwich Magistrates Court on March 29 for a hearing to contest the CBO.