Alarm over ambulance hoax calls

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Ambulance dispatchers who send out blue-light crews to incidents in Angus and the Mearns are having to deal with hoax calls every day, according to official figures.

New information obtained by the Scottish Conservatives indicate more than 2,000 malicious calls have been made to the Scottish Ambulance Service’s East control room from 2014 to the present.

In the South Queensferry nerve centre, 999 operators scramble medics to emergencies from Angus and the Mearns in the north to Lothian and Borders in the south.

A total of 7,411 were recorded across Scotland during the reporting period, including malicious calls about serious medical emergencies including pregnancies, stabbings and overdoses. It equates to an average of four per day.

Angus MP Kirstene Hair warns this year’s figure is likely to rise following the traditionally busy festive period.

And the Scottish Conservative, who obtained the data through a Freedom of Information request, has called for tougher action to be taken on prank callers.

She said: “More than four times every day, ambulance vehicles are compelled to go to jobs under blue lights, only to find out it was all a prank.

“I can only imagine the frustration of call handlers and paramedics who just want to be where it counts the most.

“At times of extra pressure, such as the run up to Christmas, these figures demonstrate the stark reality for people in Angus. For example, a hoax call in Perthshire could make all the difference to response times in my constituency and several other counties.

“The individuals responsible must never forget that their prank call could lead to the difference between life or death on another call.”