THE SCOTTISH ambulance service has called for people to use it sensibly over the festive period, after revealing that Scots have dialled 999 for help with escaped birds and misplaced keys.
The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) urged the public not to make calls that waste valuable time and resources during the busy festive period.
The service revealed that one Scot dialled 999 for an ambulance because they had lost their house keys and were locked out. Another caller wanted help after a bird escaped in their front room, while one phoned because their boiler had broken down.
At this time of year staff deal with 20-30% surges in calls at peak periods.
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the SAS, said: “Our staff work tirelessly to respond to calls for help and deliver the most appropriate care, but the 999 service is for serious emergencies and we are asking the public to use it wisely so that we can continue to send ambulances quickly to those that need us most.
“At peak periods, like the festive season, every inappropriate call has the potential to delay a response to a serious emergency.”
Other recent inappropriate calls included one from a caller who wanted their beeping smoke alarm to be silenced while someone dialled 999 because they had cut their finger.
Anyone who has a health problem that can’t wait until their GP surgery opens should contact NHS 24 on 08454 242424 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency, or for general health information go to nhs24.com or NHS Inform.
The SAS said that the average response time to a life threatening call is 6.5 minutes.