Ambulance Used As Taxi Shocker!

From the BBC, (via BWTS)

Students 'dialled 999 for taxi'

A group of students put lives at risk by dialling 999 for an ambulance to take them home after a night drinking.

Kent Ambulance NHS Trust said its crew was “stunned” after the call to an “unwell” woman who was actually drunk, in Canterbury, early on Thursday.

When the crew arrived they found a man and two women. One of them was drunk.

An ambulance spokesman said the students had tried calling a taxi but had no reply, so had contacted the emergency services.

Paramedic team leader Dave Latham said: “The crew told them that they were not a taxi service and that by attending to them they were potentially being taken away from dealing with someone whose life may have been at risk”.

“The young man then became abusive and said that he didn't care and that it was his right as a tax payer.”

The ambulance trust said the crew carried out a medical assessment of the patient and found that she was drunk but otherwise fit and well.

Mr Latham said it was the second time that a Canterbury crew had been called out unnecessarily by students in the town.

A crew was called out on Monday night to the Venue nightclub at the University of Kent where a young man was said to be unwell.

'Think twice'

The ambulance crew tried to establish what was wrong, but he refused to tell them saying that it was his right to be taken to hospital as a tax payer, the trust said.

Mr Latham said: “It is a shame because the vast majority of students are okay, but there is a small minority of people who are giving students a bad name.

“Lives could have been put at risk here.

“We are not a taxi service. We are an emergency service and here to help those who need to be taken to hospital and not to someone's front door.

“We urge students in the town to think about this in the future.”

The trust said it had contacted both universities in the town and asked that students are reminded not to dial 999 unnecessarily.

Once more…is this really news?  Some nights half my jobs are like this…

22 thoughts on “Ambulance Used As Taxi Shocker!”

  1. In Toronto I'm pretty sure you get a fine for calling out any of the 3 services for no good reason. 100 dollars…or was it more like 300? Can't remember

  2. Someone at work was saying the other day the average person pays for the equivalent of two call outs to the ambulance service through their taxes in their lifetime. Therefore, if someone goes down the “entitled” route, tell them they can have one ambulance when they're drunk, another when they break their toe, but twenty years on when they have a heart attack — tough. They've used their entitlement.

  3. It's news because people are surprised by it. If your blog was mandatory reading then people wouldn't be surprised and it would cease to be news.So much would be different if your blog were mandatory reading though – and i think i'll stop now because I'm exciting your ego too much by imagining a state where Reynolds rules all.

    A(n embarrased) student

  4. I'm sure I've done my “With Rights Come Responsibilities” rant before, so just imagine I've done it again.Incidentally, how much of “his” tax does it cost to call out a fully equipped ambulance and take people to hospital? I'm wondering how it would contrast to how much he, as a student, is likely to earn and therefore pays in his precious tax.

  5. Incidentally, how much of “his” tax does it cost to call out a fully equipped ambulance and take people to hospital?Actually, this is something I'd really like to know, too…next time a certain friend goes and spends an evening being chased by two separate emergency services around the town, it would be good to be able to explain precisely how much she's cost the public purse she's so resentful about paying into…

  6. I believe that the Fire Service charges a call-out fee for timewasters. Perhaps the Ambulance Service should do the same.

  7. They should be taken to hospital, Wick Hospital. Yes it tries up a bus for a couple of days, but they wouldn't do it again.

  8. Thankfully, in Melbourne, Australia our employers have enough confidence in our professionalism to allow us to say 'no' to these timewasters and for “frequent flyers” who regularly abuse the service they get a management plan that doesn't necessarily send an ambulance in the first place. Sounds like LAS and the UK health system could do with a few of our guys advising.

  9. They'd certainly get a bill, which they would have to explain to their health insurance, here in the US. The uninsured cost of a legitimate EMT call for me last year was about $700, of which I paid about $250 out of pocket. Current exchange rate about 375 for the full bill. If there were a government added penalty… perhaps legal charges that would go on their record, both at the school and with the police… Yeah, it doesn't have to be that way, but the people who care enough to change it don't have the political power to do it.

  10. Since they're drunk, can't you cart them off to the local drying-out house to spend the night? Perhaps if you could take them to the local mental hospital for a couple of days of “assessment” they might not do it twice.

  11. the figure i keep hearing (only as a rumour you understand) is about 500 for every half hour of our time. I know that i'm certainly not worth 250 so I must have very expensive crewmates…

  12. I'm sure I heard a story a while back about some students in kent calling for an ambulance as part of a university study. Their friend prentended to be unwell and they hid in bushes across the road with a camera and microphone. I believe the ambulance crew figured them for the greasy scroungers that they were in about two seconds. I should imagine that said students can now be found working in a nearby fast food restaurant, staring whistfully out of the window…

  13. No one's ever counted but there are about 8000 criminal offences in this country; I can't believe that one of them isn't “wasting ambulance time.” Given the cost to the service of going to this sort of calls I can't believe there isnt more pressure on the government for a clamp-down? T.

  14. you've pretty much echoed the thoughts of every ambulanceman but how do we target these appeals at specific groups of time wasters? I've lost count of the number of elderly patients at eight in the morning who've had chest pain for hours, or who have sat on their bedroom floor, unable to get up in a cold bedroom. and what do they always say when you ask them why on earth they didn't call us sooner? “You're very busy and I didn't want to waste your time.” How many of the DOAs we go out to in the daytime had exactly the same thought during the night, right before they died?The elderly and disabled who so often need us so urgently falsely assume that “one of these is a taxi” and “call an ambulance for the wrong reason and someone could die” is aimed at them.

    If i had the answer to this i'd be on band seven 😉

  15. it's not just your wages though, is it… it's also everything from the person in Control to the vehicle to the petrol to the maintenance to the comms and paperwork. Little bit here, little bit there.Plus each call could be held liable for a percentage of the overheads of the LAS – eg water and electricity for the station, cleaners, managers to arrange shift rotas, all that sort of thing.

  16. In the same way as there are better things to use ambulance resources on than drunk students, there are also better things on which to use the already overstretched mental health resources.I'd sooner kick them off the course, or cut their student loan allowance.

  17. Chiming in with my disabled hat on, the reason I've never called an ambulance for myself is quite simply because if I called an ambulance every time I fall over and can't get up straight away, or every time I'm in so much pain I end up audibly yelping, 999 would be on my speed-dial and I'd know all the local ambo staff by name.Usually I can get up after just having a little nap on the floor for a while and then crawling to the bed or the sofa or whatever… usually within twenty minutes or so the overwhelming pain subsides enough for me to be able to think my way through getting my painkillers for myself.

    I know that these are the parameters and I really don't see the point in worrying unless, as you say with these old people with chest pain, it carries on *severely* for several hours despite painkillers.

    Whereas someone who isn't elderly or disabled is far more inclined to panic if they're suddenly on the floor and can't get up and/or yelping in pain and/or having trouble breathing etc etc etc.

    For them, it's a one-off, it causes panic, it's worth worrying about. For me and people like me, it's more “oh bugger not again… let's see if it wears off.”

  18. Excluding transfers, I think I've called for an ambulance 5 times. Four of these where when my daughter went into a siezure and didn't come out and the other for a neightbour who had fallen badly in the street. I have nothing but praise for the crews who attended us (some more than once) and their professionalism anad care.I hope someone explained to these timewasters when they were sober exactly what the consequence of their actions could have been.

  19. With my student hat on it'd be interesting to know whether those universities that have LINKS units who cover the main trouble spots for first aid result in less wastage of ambulance time.With my disabled hat on, I can only agree with batsgirl. I had a nasty D&V bug for no apparent reason, which sets my physical condition off like nobody's business (so lots of falling/not able to sit up etc). Scared some of my flat mates who wanted to call a doc, and it was very hard to make them understand that there was no point (as i. no doc is going to do anything for D&V 4 hours in, and ii. I had no wish to be carted off to hospital and filled with muscle relaxants).

  20. I dont think LINKS really make much of a difference to be honest, one of our students phoned an ambulance for conjunctivitis this year

  21. There was an article in the Kentish Gazette this week. A taxi operator had been called to take a drunk student to hospital earlier this year. When he suggested they call for an ambulance as she sounded very unwell. Her friend actually asked what the number to call an ambulance was. When he said '999″, the friend asked him to wait while she got a pen and paper to write it down. When she came back she said, oh well we've called you so you might as well come. He took the four students to hospital. On getting there, one went in with the drunken ill person and the other two asked to be taken back to their house on a Canterbury estate. When they got near there, they did a runner after refusing to pay because it was an emergency. They split into two directionsSadly for them it had been snowing. The taxi driver followed one of their footprints in the newly laid snow to their front door, where one of them was shamed into paying him.

  22. I didn't think students paid taxes. At least my daughter doesn't, or at least can claim it back.Must be talking like his Dad. Clearly a case of a family that needs to grow up.

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