Welsh Ambulance Service's transcripts of "inappropriate" emergency calls

The Welsh Ambulance Service shared details from some of what they deem "inappropriate" calls to the 999 emergency telephone number. They claim that of 414,149 calls last year—188 on average each day—16% weren't "a life-or-death emergency."

"Our highly skilled paramedics and technicians are trained to help those whose life is in imminent danger," says Andy Swinburn, Executive Director of Paramedicine. "That's people in cardiac arrest, people with chest pain or breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, choking, severe allergic reactions, catastrophic bleeding or someone who is having a stroke."

"Inappropriate calls put additional strain on an already over-stretched service and may delay help for others," he says.

The following are excerpts from actual 999 calls that they deem unworthy of being 999 calls:

Call 1
 Ambulance, what's the address of the emergency?
Caller: Hi, yeah, erm… I know it doesn't 100% qualify as this but my wife must have accidentally rubbed chili in her eyes and her eyes are burning. She's tried washing them and nothing's happening.

Call 2
 Tell me exactly what's happened.
Caller: Yesterday evening, we had some kebab, and I might have had a little bit more than I'm used to, then this morning, I've had a very painful stomach.

Call 3
My ring is stuck on my finger; I need it cut off.
Operator: Is your breathing normal for you?
Caller: My breathing's fantastic, yeah.
Operator: Are you bleeding or vomiting blood?
Caller: I'm not bleeding, no.
Operator: And do you have any pain?
Caller: Yeah, a little bit.
Operator: From the information that you have provided, you do require a more detailed assessment by a nurse, so an ambulance will not be sent at this time.
Caller: How am I going to get there then? Can you just come and see me please?

Call 4
What it is with her, her voice has given on her. We don't know what to do. We've tried lemon and whatever, but it's not doing any good.
Operator: Where is she in pain?
Caller: It's her throat. She can hardly speak.
Operator: And is it just that she's lost her voice, is it?
Caller: Yeah.

Call 5
 Ambulance service, what's the address of the emergency?
Caller: I wouldn't say it's an emergency, but I don't know how to get down to hospital. I have a piercing in my ear, and it's pretty much been ripped out and the ball's stuck in my ear.
Operator: So, the ball from your piercing is stuck inside your ear?

Call 6
 Is the patient awake?
Caller: Yeah, it's me, my hand's stuck in the door.
Operator: Is the door locked at the moment?
Caller: Yeah, it's locked. Mam! No, my hand's stuck in the f*****g letterbox.
Operator: How old are you?
Caller: Open the door, my hand's stuck!

More: "'999? I've lost my false teeth!' – Inappropriate calls to Welsh Ambulance Service revealed"


Previously: "Concerning screams led to 911 call. Turned out to be cops in the heat of passion."