Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

​Is Your Call Really An Emergency?

Whilst it may seem like a sensible question, the ambulance service urges members of the public to stop and think before dialling 999.

Watch the videos below which feature front-line and control room staff appealing to people to use 999 appropriately. In addition, listen to the clips from real 999 calls below to see the stark difference between what is an appropriate and inappropriate call.

Jenny Cocks, the Trust’s Emergency Operations Centre Commander in Brierley Hill, said: “When you call 999 the questions that we ask are vital for us to be able to get the right help, to the right people, as quickly as possible. We receive about 3,000 calls a day but unfortunately not all of these are appropriate for the ambulance service and sometimes people do forget that 999 is for life threatening injuries and illnesses. Our call assessors also have to deal with verbal abuse and hoax calls which is disappointing when all the want to do is help people in their hour of need. While we’re dealing with these calls there are less call assessors available to deal with that life threatening emergency. Please think before calling 999.”

Ruth Lester, a Paramedic based in Willenhall, said: “I spent three years training to be a paramedic to go out and try and save lives, I didn’t spend my training to treat patients with cut fingers, really bad colds and hangovers. If you’ve had a minor accident like a cut finger or a sprained ankle the please look at other avenues, please don’t waste our time. There are things such as NHS 111, the pharmacist or there’s self-care. Only use the ambulance service if you have a life-threatening emergency.”

Chest pain, severe blood loss, difficulty breathing, stroke, unconsciousness. That is what the ambulance service is here for. If your call is less serious dial NHS 111 first, so we can keep 999 free for people who really need it. Don’t forget it could be your loved one who is left waiting for an ambulance when their live is in danger.

Please stop and think, is your call really an emergency?

 

This video is hosted on an external website - YouTube

West Midlands Ambulance Service Paramedic Ruth Lester and Emergency Operations Centre commander Jenny Cocks make a plea to the public to only call 999 in life-threatening situations.

 

This video is hosted on an external website - YouTube

This short video features front line ambulance staff, managers, 999 and NHS 111 control room staff appealing for people to stop and think before dialling 999. Is your call really an emergency?

‘It’s not difficult to spot the real emergency’ – listen to these real 999 calls and see if you can spot the real emergency.

The following videos are hosted on an external website - YouTube