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Frequent callers to 999 numbers will be referred

Birmingham | News | Published:

Patients who call 999 more than five times in 12 weeks are to be referred to a specialist team to relieve pressure on paramedics.

Patients who call 999 more than five times in 12 weeks are to be referred to a specialist team to relieve pressure on paramedics.

West Midlands Ambulance Service today revealed its staff can be called out up to 50 times in 12 weeks by the same person. Chiefs are concerned that such calls stretch resources.

And they believe many people could be better helped if they were given a proper care package by another arm of the NHS.

A team is now in place to look through cases where emergency calls are made more than five times in three months.

Robert Cole, regional head of clinical practice, said: "This will give us more resources so the ambulance service and the wider public can benefit.

"It may well be in some cases that it is best for the individual to continue to call 999.

"Most people need to call 999 once, maybe twice in their lifetime.

"However we have had an instance with a man suffering from Parkinson's who called us 50 times in 12 weeks because he kept falling.

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"Obviously something was wrong there.

"We are reviewing any person who calls 999 more than five times in 12 weeks.

"We had originally looked at those calling three times in that period but it ran to thousands so we are concentrating on those who call even more."

There are between 15 and 25 patients across the region who call for an ambulance more than five times a week.

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The ambulance service has set up a safeguarding team of four officers across the region, including one for Birmingham and the Black Country, who will review cases.

The officers then get in touch with other groups such as primary care trusts.

In cases where anyone is found to be deliberately abusing the system the trust will take legal action.

But Mr Cole added in most cases, people who were calling for an ambulance were "doing the right thing" because they needed emergency help at that time.

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