999 call for East of England Ambulance crew to carry drunk friend to bed

A person called 999 because they wanted an ambulance crew to carry their drunk friend up to bed, the service has revealed as it battles to cope with an increase in calls.

The East of England Ambulance Service saw a significant rise in the number of calls over the weekend, including inappropriate calls.

Other examples of inappropriate calls made by members of the public include a patient who wanted a urine sample dropped off at hospital, someone whose toenail had fallen off, the parent of a child who was having a tantrum and another parent of a child who was being taunted.

Even without adverse weather conditions such as snow, use of the ambulance service rises significantly at this time of year.

Over the weekend, the region's three call centres operated by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) handled 5,205 emergency calls, nearly 300 more than the previous weekend – an increase of more than 5.5pc.

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It was also more than 200 calls up on the same weekend last year, when ice and snow had hit the region.

Although no figures are obtainable on the number of inappropriate calls made, call handlers have witnessed an increase.

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Neil Storey, associate director of emergency operations for EEAST, said: 'A number of factors cause a rise in calls at this time of year - winter illnesses, those managing long-term conditions who fall ill, and of course people celebrating at Christmas and New Year.

'Unfortunately, people also choose to call 999 when it's not a life-threatening or serious situation and this impacts on the resources available for real emergencies so please think before dialling 999, it is a lifeline for those who really do need it.'

People should use 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life if at risk, however there are a raft of other more appropriate ways to get help, treatment and advice for non-urgent illness and accidents, for example NHS Direct on 0845 4647, by calling GP practices (even out-of-hours) and by visiting local walk-in centres.

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