Ambulances called to single address more than 660 times in year

Ambulances were called to a single West Midlands address more than 660 times in a year, according to new figures from the emergency service.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has released information about the 10 most frequent callers in the region between July 1 2013 and June 30 2014.

A Birmingham address takes the top spot with 661 calls - on average almost twice a day.

However a Stourbridge address was fourth in the table, with ambulancescalled to a single address 255 times - at least once every two days - although the patient was only taken to hospital five times.

The seventh was an address in West Bromwich to which ambulances were called 148 times - resulting in 11 trips to hospital, with two Wolverhampton addresses taking eighth and ninth spot.

The first, in the WV11 postal area, which includes Wednesfield, saw 146 call outs, resulting in 107 trips to hospital.

The second, in the WV10, Bushbury area saw 134 calls resulting in 29 trips to hospital.

A Walsall home in the Bloxwich was ninth, with 136 calls resulting in four trips to hospital.

Despite the high volume of calls West Midlands Ambulance service stressed it did not mean people were misusing the service or being attended by ambulance staff every time they called.

Rob Cole, West Midlands Ambulance Service's head of clinical practices for vulnerable persons, said: "We get about 4,000 patient interactions, either face to face or over the telephone, per day."

"Just because we say we have received 600 calls does not mean a response where we physically attend...a large majority are managed over the phone by control rooms or passed to other services."

He said calls generally fit into three categories - people with complex health issues that had to call the service a lot; people who required some intervention on a regular basis but not necessarily from the ambulance service or callers who 'misused and abused' emergency services.

Mr Cole said: "In social care cases or vulnerable cases treble nine is easy to remember and free of charge. They can't get through to anyone else, but they can get through to 999."

For those frequent callers who had complex health issues they used a multi-disciplinary approach, Mr Cole said: "Mental health services, alcohol and drug services, GPs. We put an appropriate plan in place to manage this in conjunction with the patient and their family."

A spokesman for the service said in many cases this approach has led to a significant reduction or a complete stop in the need to dial 999.

There were still times, however, when a 999 call was not necessary at all. Mr Cole said: "We have attended calls in the past where they have wanted their central heating turned up, their dogs walked or their plants watered.

"If we are there dealing with that our resources are being taken away from genuine emergencies."

He said malicious callers are reported to the police and prosecuted wherever possible.